4 great independent local cinemas and why it’s important to use them

4 great independent local cinemas and why it’s important to use them – words Alexa Wang

Today, independent local cinemas play a crucial part in fostering a sense of place for their localities as key venues with a community focus. They provide a strong social function as a meeting place and centre in which to socialise and entertain.

When the Curzon Soho came under threat of demolition earlier this year, representatives of the film industry and local members of the community rallied together in support of the cinema that represented “part of a vital community that’s being eroded.”

So, why is it so important to support local cinemas, not just head to a chain screening?

Independent local cinemas preserve a love of film for film lovers

Smaller, local theatres are the best way to preserve the culture of cinema-going and the cinema experience, doing away with commercialisation to favour a more spacious and relaxed atmosphere.

Take the newly opened Cinema at The Sussex Exchange, which boast luxurious reclining seats, a private mini bar and, probably, popcorn that doesn’t cost the same as the ticket. It’s certainly a more upscale version of cinema going, but in part because of the Odeons of the world, we’ve gotten used to sticky floors and rigid seats. Local cinemas, like the cinema at The Sussex Exchange are for those who want to enjoy cinema as a treat and for the filmmaking that preserves their love of film.

Local cinemas also widen the range of cinema-going opportunities for local residents, enhancing local cultural life. They either provide a mainstream programme where no other cinemas exist in the locality, or offer a specialised alternative in those areas with multiplex provisions, giving indie movies and classics fair viewing.

Local cinemas are seen in general as affordable leisure options for families, with fewer concerns over travel and food costs than other activities. The cinemas are seen as safe, secure venues fostering independence among young people.

Four cinemas with showings for those in need

Cinemas play an important social inclusion role, particularly for elderly people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to watch films “for them” in an easily accessible “traditional” environment. But they aren’t the only group for whom cinemas are beneficial, beyond the general public.

Here are four of the best cinemas, which cater to a particular audience who benefit from their extra care:

The Barbican screens the biggest blockbusters from a common excluded group: young parents with babies. Their specially suited screenings are pitched safely for the ears of little ones, every Monday.


The Rio in Dalston, London hosts monthly Classic Matinees priced at just £2 for the over 50s, and cater specifically to the accessibility needs of care home residents and dementia sufferers—carers and assistants go free.

Every month, the Hackney Picturehouse screen free films exclusively for students and offer discounted tickets on Picturehouse Screen Arts shows—the best in theatre, dance and opera. It’s just another example of how cinema is widening participation across the spectrum.


Film festivals, special screenings and educational initiatives often reach underserved subgroups of the population. The Broadway Cinema in Nottingham hosts monthly screenings for children with autism and their families. It also seeks to enhance access and participation among otherwise excluded local minority ethnic groups through film festivals and special screenings of world cinema.

4 great independent local cinemas and why it’s important to use them – words Alexa Wang




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