Backyard Cinema – Film, food and booze under the stars

words Will Squires

London has a deep, tender relationship with cinema. From the stalwart form of the BFI on Southbank to the open-air rooftops of the Bussey Building in Peckham, there is a nearly limitless selection of venues to go and watch the silver screen, particularly in the balmy summer months of the year.

Dominic Davies and a group of movie-mad friends started Backyard Cinema a few years ago. Initially just a patched up screen made of plywood and an old sheet in the garden, this year they’ve expanded even deeper into their recent home in Camden Lock Market, and the whole package has grown alongside them.

As opposed to dodgy burgers cooked by their mate Dave on his tesco-value griddle, they’ve collaborated with Honest Burgers; the “Backyard Burger” , a smokey special with American cheese and tobacco onions is a significant upgrade. Booze is provided by Brooklyn Brewery; serving up cold, foamy pints of their regular best, alongside a selection of bespoke cocktails for those of you less hoppily inclined. There’s even a selection of decadent, incredibly middle class popcorn’s to choose from, though the price tag is a little dear a £3.50 for a miniscule tub, even if it is delicious.

Backyard Cinema has two screens; the somewhat unimaginative ‘main stage’ is situated in the heart of Camden Lock Market, beneath the open sky and towering brick walls. At the main stage, there’s the usual selection of deck chairs, but Backyard also has a huge set of more comfortable beanbags for you to cosy up with someone else and settle in on. They generously provide blankets, ponchos, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull out ski jackets were a freak snowstorm to hit.  We saw Kingsman; a light-hearted, British spy-romp that seemed the perfect way to wile away a questionably warm, terribly British summer evening. The Main Stage alternates between bigger blockbusters, and old classic sing-along performances, as well as anniversary showings of mega-hits such as Pretty Woman and Empire Records.

The Cuban Screen has a more intimate setting. Hidden away deeper in the market with only 50 seats, the line-up is a little more eclectic, and has some curveballs thrown in there for good measure, including Oscar-nominated “Wild” and mockumentary “What we do in the shadows”.  Described as “for the more inquisitive movie fan”, the implication is there’ll be less singing and dancing, and more hard-line movie adoration.

Between the two screens, Backyard Cinema promises to serve up whatever sort of night at the movies that lights up your projector bulb. For full details of the listings at both screens, head on over to Performances are running from now until 4th September, so get out there before summer disappears.



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