Community cinema offers that big-screen experience

A NEW community cinema has been set up at Highlands College in a move which will not only provide Islanders with a big-screen experience during the current Covid restrictions but could pave the way for even more ambitious events in future.

Sam Drayson Le Tissier, producer in residence. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30581878)
Sam Drayson Le Tissier, producer in residence. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30581878)

BeanScreen is running throughout the Easter holidays for a trial period and, if successful, could become a permanent offering. Jersey has been without a cinema since the pandemic forced Cineworld to close in March 2020. The company recently said it hoped to reopen this summer.

The new facility offers ‘Beanie’ screenings suitable for children as well as films for teenagers and adults.

The brainchild of Sam Drayson Le Tissier, producer in residence for the media department at Highlands, BeanScreen is set up in the college’s performing arts studio – at the former d’Hautrée School on St Saviour’s Hill – and runs in the evenings, at weekends and during school holidays. It is based on a previous idea in which the college offered a private-hire cinema.

All of the money raised by ticket sales is ploughed back into the media department. (Current restrictions mean that a maximum of ten people, who must be over the age of five, can attend each screening.)

It is hoped that students can become more involved in running the cinema, while the lighting and other performing-arts equipment already in place will allow for immersive experiences to be held there in future, once restrictions are lifted.

‘I’m a big cinema fan myself and as there are none open currently I thought this would make a really nice community project and provide something for families to do over the Easter holidays,’ said Mr Drayson Le Tissier, who is originally from Guernsey but moved to the Island from the UK with his wife recently. Going forwards, we will be able to introduce the students to running the cinema and put on special events. And, as the studio has all the lighting and equipment for playing music, we can look at slightly more immersive experiences in future, using performers and food from our catering course to bring it all together as an experience, once we are allowed.

‘For example, for Back to the Future, people could turn up in 50s outfits, there could be actors, live music, hot dogs and then we all watch the film.’

He added that ‘ideally’ BeanScreen would ‘be here to stay’, but said that ultimately its future depended on support from the local community.

Showings over the holidays include The Lion King, Lego Movie 2, The Jungle Book, Frozen II and Monsters, Inc for Beanies, as well as Blade Runner, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, House of Flying Dragons, Hairspray and Joker.

Tickets cost £10 for adults, £8 for children, students and OAPs and £5 for under-fives. A £13 ticket can also be purchased which includes a ticket, drink, popcorn and a snack. Food and drinks must be preordered.

For more information search BeanScreen Cinema Jersey in Facebook, BeanScreen Jersey on Instagram or go to draysonletissier.wixsite.com/beanscreen to book.

BeanScreen is also available for private hire, and Mr Drayson Le Tissier has been working with the Jersey Youth Service to provide private screenings which cater for the needs of the young people using its services.

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