ABOUT BILLERICAY COMMUNITY CINEMA
We are a national award-winning not-for-profit Community Cinema run entirely by volunteers. We show a wide range of films to our local area that focuses very much on “community”. November 2016 saw us being awarded the honour of the “Cinema For All” national “New Society of the Year Award” which was won against competition from community cinemas in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guildford and London.
We show two films a month. A range of soft drinks, tea/coffee and snacks are available at both of our shows with full table service both before the show and during the interval (yes, we have an interval!)
From the moment you enter the building you’ll be assured of a warm welcome. We love greeting both regulars and “first timers” and getting to know you all.
We have one evening film a month on a Thursday. Each season features a mix of film genres and all will be films that are the best of their type.
In addition to the soft drinks and snacks our evening show has local Billericay Brewing Company beers; we also have wine – and our special cocktail and mocktail themed for the show. Popular during the winter months is our hot chocolate (with optional rum chaser !).
Open to anyone we particularly welcome those who are on their own and who fancy some company and entertainment on a Sunday afternoon. As with our Film Thursday offering we show films from a range of genres and year.
Our tag line for the show is “A cuppa, a slice of cake, a film and a natter” – and to help that along we always have delicious home made cake, baked by our volunteers, which goes down a treat!
Tickets for Film Thursday are £5.00 whilst the Sunday Matinee is £4.00. Refreshment prices are deliberately affordable and great value for money; the average spend per head at our Thursday show is less than £10 (including ticket); at the Sunday Matinee it’s about £7.50 (again including ticket).
ORIGINS: BILLERICAY LIBRARY
The idea came about in early 2015 generated during an event run by Essex County Council called “Billericay’s Big Do”. The idea was to help the community identify ways of making better use of the Library and Burghstead Lodge, a linked and very underused building.
6 months of detailed planning and fundraising followed. We were awarded an initial grant from Billericay Town Council of £500; this was followed rapidly by £3,250 from Essex County Council supplemented with £365 of crowdfunding sponsorship from the John Baron Charity Funwalk.
On the 24th September 2015 we held our shakedown “trial” show (Men in Black) in Billericay Library followed by our Grand Opening on the 15th October (Ghostbusters) and our Family Sunday Grand Opening on the 25th (Paddington).
In total we showed 104 films in the Library.
MOVING TO THE CHANTRY CENTRE
In common with everyone else we had an enforced closure during Covid, following which we took the decision to move to the recently opened Chantry Centre, a new community facility built and operated by Billericay Town Council. On July 1st 2021 film 105 – The Lavender Hill Mob – started our residence at the Chantry Centre.
In the immediate post-Covid days when ‘social distancing’ we trialled a table based layout and we found this worked very well. So popular was it that we have retained this format. Whilst this limits our capacity to around 60 it’s a far more relaxed layout, one which suits our community style. We’ve invested in catering quality tablecloths and at Christmas even have lovely lights on the tables!