North Leeds: Community cinema proves a blockbuster

Inside Oakwood Cinema. Picture: Simon K Allen
Inside Oakwood Cinema. Picture: Simon K Allen
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A new community-run cinema in north Leeds has proved a blockbuster of an idea among local residents.

Oakwood Cinema launched at the end of September at Roundhay Parochial Hall with a sell-out crowd of 150 who watched the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything.

Oakwood Cinema at Roundhay Parochial Hall. Picture: Simon K Allen

Oakwood Cinema at Roundhay Parochial Hall. Picture: Simon K Allen

The new venture - dreamed up by local residents Lynne Gelderd and Paul Ellison - has also created the closest cinema in the world to the ‘birthplace of film’, as French inventor Louis Le Prince shot the first moving pictures on paper film using a single lens camera in the garden of a house in Oakwood. Lynne and Paul both said they wanted to show good films in a social setting which was affordable and accessible to all and, with the help of some volunteers, have now set up a not-for-profit organisation to run the cinema.

The first screening proved such a hit, it is now set to be a monthly event for the community. Lynne said: “The farmer’s market and the renovation of Oakwood Clock have really worked to bring the people of Oakwood together recently and we want to build on that with an inclusive and enjoyable social event that works for the community.”

Paul added: “We’re really excited about showing films in the Parochial Hall - it’s a fantastic space to use and we plan to regularly create a great cinema experience for 150 people at a time. The atmosphere on the first night was even better than expected.”

Next up is The Grand Budapest Hotel on Saturday October 24. Doors open at 7pm and the film starts at 8pm.

The cinema also boasts a licensed bar as well as locally-made ice cream and fresh popcorn.

Tickets cost £5 to non-members or £4 to members. Annual membership costs £5. For tickets, visit buytickets.at/oakwoodcinema or local shops in Oakwood – Tasty Cafe, City Stationers and Jackrabbits Pottery.

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