Liverpool Lighthouse auditorium cinema doors are officially opening on Saturday 3 December, welcoming the local community to a free sing-a-long screening of The Greatest Showman.
The cinema aims to promote well-being for the local community which has the highest levels of deprivation nationally at a time when people are struggling with the cost of living crisis, bring people together in positive shared experience and provide creative, cultural opportunities to promote connection and improved mental health and wellbeing.
Liverpool Lighthouse, with support from Awards for All, LFC, Liverpool Mayoral Fund, and Crowd Funding, purchased and installed a cinema-quality AV system and screen in the auditorium along with other equipment to help create an authentic cinema experience.
Liverpool Lighthouse was established in 1998 in a former Gaumont Cinema building and is now a Creative Sanctuary for its local communities and artists with a creative wellbeing programme.
Rebecca Ross-Williams, Creative Director of Liverpool Lighthouse said, “There is currently no local cinema.
“We plan to bring the experience of cinema back to the local community which has been culturally underserved for generations which effects particularly those in the most disadvantaged groups, including low-income families, people with disabilities, young people and older people.
“Many local people have told us they struggle to afford the costs to travel to and access other cinemas.”
The building was previously a Gaumont cinema, dating from 1931. Andy Brown’s grandfather, Charlie Brown, opened and managed the original, art deco cinema, a modern icon of its time and Andy exclaims the joy his grandfather would have had, to know it is still alive as a cinema and serving its community.
Andy Brown, grandson of Charlie Brown said, “You are doing what Charlie Brown did back in 1931; just like the Lighthouse, the cinema supported the community, bringing entertainment and opportunity to Anfield. Charlie and his wife Nell would have been very proud to know that their legacy is still living on.”
The restoration of Liverpool Lighthouse involved installing a 10 metre Cine Pro electrical screen along with giving the venue that extra vintage feel back by adding to the Art Deco that has remained preserved such as bringing the historical box office back to life, installing popcorn makers, candyfloss trollies and lighting up the venue outside with a retro ‘now showing’ sign.
The older generation can come and re-experience the past and the younger generation can uncover the history of Liverpool Lighthouse. The former Gaumont cinema will no longer be a memory of the past, screenings will be on a regular basis for the community from much-loved classics to independent screenings, at an affordable price for all as well as culturally diverse films.
Rebecca Ross-Williams, Creative Director of Liverpool Lighthouse added, “We are so fortunate that our venue can once again bring the joy of film to our local communities through a community cinema at Liverpool Lighthouse. It provides an opportunity for local people of all ages and backgrounds to come together in shared experiences which aim to promote happiness – which let’s face it’s much needed.
“Older community members are excited that their grandchildren will be able to experience the joys of cinema that they remember from visiting Liverpool Lighthouse in their youth. Just to think 91 years later the doors are opening for cinema!”
The history of Liverpool Lighthouse as a Gaumont Cinema along with the fond memories from people within the community is something that Liverpool Lighthouse want to ignite once more. Liverpool Lighthouse is a charity, a community hub for North Liverpool that focuses on reducing isolation, developing skills, engagement within the arts and community cohesion.
Liverpool Lighthouse is home to recording studios, workshop rooms and a café where families, younger & older generations get together to take part in events and activities. The venue is also home to a 430 seated auditorium where theatre, dance and music shows take place.
Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.
Tickets can be booked on EventBrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lighthouse-cinema-launch-greatest-showman-sing-a-long-tickets-461211113857 followed by pay-what-you-can screenings in December and January as part of the launch.