Hackney set for third cinema, after Castle Crowdfunder smashes target

The Castle, photo Dusashenka

The Castle, photo Dusashenka - Credit: Archant

A campaign to resurrect The Castle Cinema picture palace in Hackney, which shut 50 years ago has smashed its target to raise £45,000.

Asher and Dee inside The Castle

Asher and Dee inside The Castle - Credit: Archant

A Crowdfunder campaign asking people to chip in to secure the re-opening of the cinema in Chatsworth Road, Lower Clapton, ended yesterday, with a “remarkable” £57,000.

When it opens in June, the 60-seat cinema will be Hackney’s second independent picture house, alongside the Rio in Dalston.

Asher Charman and Danielle Swift, who have been running pop-up cinema events under the guise of Pillow for the last couple of years and Hot Tub Cinema since 2012, saw the potential in The Castle as a permanent base.

Mr Charman told the Gazette: “It’s quite remarkable, we are absolutely blown away, this is better than we ever dared hope and it’s been an amazing journey - it seemed like a big mountain to climb but the last week has been extraordinary.

An artist's impression of what the renovated Castle Cinema could look like

An artist's impression of what the renovated Castle Cinema could look like - Credit: Archant

“To have exceeded our initial target by such a considerable margin is extremely encouraging, to feel the passion about making this dream a reality.

“People are excited about doing something that is a bit personal, it isn’t going to be a huge cinema, it will be almost like a home from home.

Most Read

“I would like to think that we have tapped into that desire for a local and personal experience, and although there are other options throughout London and closer to home this has been tailored to our local audience, and in such a special location as this, an old cinema.”

The £45,000 they aim to raise through their crowdfunding campaign will pay for equipment like a cinema system and restoring the empty space into a fully functional auditorium, including seats and lighting.

With the extra £10,000 they will create an ‘events cinema’ through buying decoding satellite receivers, to live content from the likes of Ted Talks and National Theatre productions.

Along with mainstream blockbusters, the cinema will screen art house movies, foreign language, well-loved classics, and make it a platform for local filmmakers to screen their works.

The original cinema opened as The Castle Electric Theatre in 1913, and ran until 1958 when it became a bingo club and snooker hall.

It fell into disrepair until 2014 when local shop and restaurant owners Eat17 took it on, who now run an organic grocery store on the ground floor and a bar upstairs.