SNUGGLING up under a cosy blanket with a box of popcorn and a bottle of beer to watch a festive film, customers might think to themselves ‘This really is a cinema like no other’.
How many other cinemas would recreate a winter wonderland for guests to enjoy at their leisure before the screening begins?
The Village Screen made their guests feel magical when they put on three festive flicks at the historic Abbeydale Picture House, Sheffield, on December 20 and 21.
The venue itself is something to behold — the only early 20th century cinema left in Sheffield and now a grade II listed building with many original features including a grand vaulted ceiling.
The long-term plan is to restore this magnificent building back to its former glory — but in the meantime it opens its doors for seasonal film screenings.
Its latest offering was three Christmas classics — Love Actually, Elf and Home Alone — but there’s little point just showing up for the film when there’s so much else to enjoy.
The venue opens its doors two hours before each screening to allow customers to experience the various refreshments and entertainment available.
First up, there’s a selection of food and drink stalls to keep you warm and fed — wood-fired pizzas, hot drinks, sweet treats and, of course, boozy festive tipples.
While milling about outside tucking into something tasty, you will be kept entertained by a performance from a local choir.
On venturing inside, the foyer is dressed up with Christmas trees, fake snow, tinsel and candles, while the auditorium itself looks similarly festive.
There’s no heating in the cinema, so customers are encouraged to bring their own blankets to keep warm — it’s also an easy way of reserving your seats early on.
Before the film starts you can order drinks, popcorn or sweets from the bar, play a few board games (a game of snakes and ladders takes me back to my childhood), pose in front of a wintry scene for a picture or dress up in silly costumes.
And then it’s time to cosy up underneath a blanket with your snacks and drinks to watch the main event.
For me, it was a re-watching of the Christmas comedy, Elf, starring Will Ferrell, which was suitably enhanced by being surrounded by Christmas decorations and excited children wearing silly hats.
Village Screen is already advertising its Valentine’s Day screening and, if its Christmas offering it anything to go by, it should be another winner.