Sheffield's much-loved Showroom cinema has reopened – and its café bar is extending Eat Out to Help Out

Sheffield’s only independent cinema has reopened following what its boss has called a ‘very long’ six months of closure.

Friday, 18th September 2020, 10:08 am

The Showroom, on Paternoster Row in the city centre, was forced to shut in March when lockdown was imposed as the coronavirus pandemic worsened – hitting plans to celebrate the venue’s 25th anniversary.

But now the cinema, including its popular café bar, has returned with social distancing measures in place and a brand-new film programme.

Among the line-up of new releases are several previews that are premiering months before official release dates. One such film will be Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland, which recently won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, while Barking Dogs Never Bite – a film never seen before in the UK from the Oscar-winning director of Parasite, Bong Joon-ho – will also feature in the cinema’s autumn screenings.

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Ian Wild, chief executive of Sheffield's Showroom Cinema. Picture: Scott Merrylees.

Four festivals, some of which have been on hold due to the pandemic, will sit alongside the cinema’s autumn season including Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, which will be screening a series of weekly one-off films up until Christmas.

Sheffield’s Doc/Fest will be holding four weekender events, with films showing Friday to Sunday every fortnight from October 2.

This year's BFI London Film Festival will be joining the Showroom between October 7 and 18. The festival will open with Steve McQueen's Mangrove and close with Ammonite, the latest film from Francis Lee, who directed the Yorkshire-set God's Own Country.

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Additionally, the annual horror festival Celluloid Screams will return for its 12th edition from October 22 to 25.

The Showroom’s café bar will have a refreshed autumn menu, and it is extending the Government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme every Wednesday throughout September and October by offering 50 per cent off all food.

Ian Wild, CEO of the Showroom and its neighbouring Workstation complex, said: “We are excited to finally reopen our doors after a very long and difficult six months. If it wasn’t for our loyal audience supporting us as a registered charity, we would be in a very different position now. We are, however, still waiting to hear back on the success of our application to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, so it's still a very nervous time for us.

“We’ve worked hard over the last few months to make sure we offer a safe and welcoming environment for our staff and audiences when they return. Some of our new measures include one-way systems, additional cleaning, and reducing the capacity in our four cinemas by 75 per cent to aid socially distancing.

“We’re excited to be able to bring a fantastic new programme of films to audiences from across South Yorkshire and we hope now more than ever, the local community will be able to support us as one of Sheffield’s unique independent cultural venues.”

The cinema was created in the 1990s in an Art Deco building that was once the Kennings car showroom. It occupies one of the best and most prominent spots in Sheffield – elevated halfway up a hill, it is one of the first things people see when leaving the railway station.

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