Queer events and resources have been amplifying for quite a while now. Abundantly, culture and queerness are grooving in a contemporary, intriguing fashion. Consider witchy musician Ash Morgan and her tomboy, tattoo-artist partner @thedadddymac hosting queer getaways to Greece, Ireland and Bali. To the first LGBTQ+ centred music festival being held this summer in the magical city of Porto, . Not to mention our community’s, accelerating literary canon, with – to name so few of the paragons it almost hurts me – nonpareil releases like Shon Fae’s The Transgender Issue, Rachel Krantz’s Open: A Memoir of Love, Liberation and Loss and Glyn Fussels The Misfit Manifesto. I won’t even start on Celine Sciamma. Also, Fletcher’s on tour with Upsahl, G Flip and Julia Wolf — Do I need to elaborate on this one?
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Here, at Nonchalant, we are ecstatic to espouse this mightily rainbowed romp – well, it’s scantly begun.
Recently, we chanced upon Backyard Cinema, the UK’s leading provider of immersive cinema experiences who, for quite a while now, have been transforming London venues into palatial cinematic vitae. On the radar of publications like The Daily Express, Time Out, and the Evening Standard, Backyard Cinema has earned itself accolading praises. Being dubbed everything from “rip-roaring fun” to “the next best thing to direct flights to the US.”
Ahead of their summer relaunch, Backyard Cinema, named the Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2019, decided to reach out to cinema-goers, self-conducting revealing, necessary research. Finding that, since the pandemic, over a third of survey takers had yet to return to the cinema, over half deemed shared, immersive experiences, whether with loved ones or strangers, to be central to a wholly satisfying cinematic experience. Further to this, more than two-thirds held the concerted meaningfulness and immersion of an experience more vital to overall contentment than what we eat, drink, see, hear or touch during a night out. Vowing to provide all – and then some, Backyard Cinema’s incitations were once again aflame. We affirm that this, far from the standard cinema experience, is a date night opportunity for the bullet journals and the calendars, my queers.
By no means a corporate plug, Backyard Cinema’s origins are earthy as their name entails. With Founder and CEO Dominic Davies’ father serving as the extent of their production crew, it was a makeshift yet somewhat mystical travail. Originating in a bona fide backyard, with a screen consisting of bedsheets and some recycled wood, along with a projector leftover from a house party, the Blues Brothers was Backyard Cinema’s debut. It was a raging success, until an untimely amp-blow, that was. Davies notes, “From a professional and technical perspective that was bad, but none of that mattered because it was just mates, together, watching a movie. The washout rang gold, revealing that it was not the mechanics of their project that mattered but the heart, the shared lived experience..
Initially, they established themselves in Camden Market, with Honest Burger selling food and Brewdog selling beer. Sideways, bin-supported projector akimbo, the Blues Brothers screenings continued, now accompanied by an impromptu live blues band and, marginally, fewer technical inhibitions. They began taking on more sizable events, realising they needed to, if not narrow their focus, at least steer it.
Soon finding themselves a slightly more permanent screening location, they moved to Mercato Metropolitano, where they established Lost World, their first, fully themed cinema. Yet, soon enough, it was for a location change, and once again, Backyard Cinemas rose to the impugn – it was seed-down time.
In September 2019, luck struck, and Backyard Cinema found a permanent home. Achieving what generally would take six months to a year in two months, they transformed the former TV studio, Capital Studios Wandsworth – where you will find the recently relaunched LA Nights and the Miami Beach experience- into a film fiend’s fantasy. Chatting to Rouse, Davies noted, “Once we get the space though, we can move very quickly, we have turned events round in as little as 10 days from an empty warehouse to a luxurious enchanted forest.”
First launched in May 2021, March 28th of this year marked the return of Backyard Cinema’s haviana-heavy Miami Beach Night, a multi-sensory, acclaimed event running for a limited sixteen-week period, featuring a musical comedy trained cast of actors. Daringly, they promise that it in a “rare sequel surprise” outperforms the OG. With May titles including but not limited to A Star Is Born (1 / 5), West Side Story (4 / 5), 10 Things I Hate About You ( 3 / 5 ) and Clueless (8 / 5) (more summer titles available here) – we know we have our tickets booked.
After all, what is not to love about a sand-filled cinema, boozy slushies and rainbow popcorn? Whether by plane simulation or an anodyne few moments in an art deco-style hotel lobby – find yourself transported to Backyard Cinema’s sun-surfeit, stateside experiences, struggling to believe you have not left old London town.
With fully immersive Instagrammable sets, a mix of cult classics, new releases, and more victuals than you’ll know what to do with – it might be the date night of our dreams. Load up on artisanal pizza available from the Studio Bar, where menus, perhaps predictably but certainly appreciatively, are heavily film-themed. Dig into a La Posta’s Argentinian Sandwich on offer from The Yard. Try one of the Yard Bar’s signature cocktails, or, if you’re more of a beer queer, head to The Annex, Backyard Cinema’s ten tap craft beer bar. Sober and kid-friendly, mocktails, soft drinks, and – frankly – near anything plausible stands available.
Did we forget to mention Sing Along Saturdays?
If you have an event in mind (excuse me, what a banger of a wedding venue it would be?) Backyard Cinemas is available for private hire. On a similar note, if there is someone you would like to treat, gift vouchers starting from 30 pounds and running till – are available.
We’ll see you there, loves.
Team Nonchalant x