Cosy Cinema

Bringing cinema back to the people of Mexborough

A programme of cinema events including six film showings, free art giveaways and the commissioning of a short film giving community members the chance to become a part of the filmmaking process.

The project

The Mexborough Community Commission featured a programme of six film events over a period of eight days in summer 2014. The films shown were: The Price of Coal, All Quiet on the Western Front, Dead Man’s Shoes, Kes, Flash Gordon and Frozen.

Right Up Our Street also wanted to give people the chance to see up-close the creative process of film making. So the commission included the making of a short film over four days across multiple events and locations that gave over 350 people the opportunity to observe the process. 

Other features of the commission included:

  • A movie art canvas giveaway, this included 200 artworks as a free pop-up creative event
  • A Stormtrooper publicity event to promote the film season events; this also provided a creative 'happening' in the town.
  • Four pieces of street art were created to publicise the other events taking place including making a giant Hollywood-style ‘Mexborough’ sign

Background to the project

Mexborough was once the proud home to four cinemas, several dance halls and theatres. Sadly none remain. Mexborough is a town of 15,000 people but people have to travel nearly 10 miles to Sheffield or Doncaster to go to the cinema. Recent research found that 59.9% of people consulted picked cinema and film as the top art form people wanted to engage with and have access too. 

After consulting with the Mexborough community group Right Up Our Street decided they could best realise the commission by managing it ourselves with their Mexborough Arts Supporter as creative producer of the events and running operations with volunteers. This would help make the budget go as far as possible to achieving their aspiration of engaging over 1000 people. Bringing in film professionals to deliver the short film as part of the commission would offer expertise and a special chance for people to perform or get technically creative. Right Up Our Street also hoped to learn new skills that could inform future cinema, filmmaking and performance events happening in the area.

The aims of the commission included:

  • to engage 1000 people in all aspects of the project
  • to give Mexborough a cinema back
  • all films would be suggested by members of the community and have a connection to Mexborough or a clear function for selection
  • the short film would offer high engagement to about 30- 40 people that would be part of the making and to engage another 200 people with the filming events.
  • to create a high quality piece of art through the short film that could be a showcase example of work in Mexborough.

The project was aimed at Mexborough people focusing on adults but with one film aimed at families to offer a free activity in the summer holidays.

What was the impact of the project?

The films that were shown were all selected by members of the community group or after wider consultations with people in Mexborough. The cinema was branded as the Cosy Cinema, the name of a cinema in Mexborough at the beginning of the twentieth century.

All the events had volunteer involvement. Mick and Paul, two new community group members who joined to be part of the commission, became core staff for running cinema events and have gone on to help run a cinema event in Hatfield due to their experience.

  • Over 1400 people engaged overall, including 900 attendances at the cinema events and 350 people involved in the creation of the short film 
  • Several hundred people signed up to the mailing list wanting to hear about other opportunities
  • New volunteers and community group members were recruited
  • A new community reviewer was recruited, with a review appearing in the Doncopolitan
  • There were 2500 visits to the Right Up Our Street website over two days
  • Strengthened relationships with local businesses, councillors and volunteers who wanted to support the events
  • Right Up Our Street developed skills in hosting large-scale cinema events
  • There is an appetite for similar events in the future and Mexborough now has a regular cinema event

“You did an amazing thing for Mexborough. You brought the people together again. You should be proud of yourself and all the people who helped make this such a fantastic event.” Helen, Mexborough resident

"Thanks to the people of Mexborough and beyond who came and made the event feel so alive. In two weeks we showed six films to 900 people, we have given away over 200 movie related pieces of art work, we have made street art signs including a giant Hollywood Mexborough sign and we had Stormtrooper arrive in in the town. Well over a 1000 people have engaged with us and so many local people and business have met us with kindness and support. Mexborough is special and I look forward to us making many more positive creative events happen that capture the imaginations of people of all ages." Arts Supporter, Mexborough

Partners included the Handheld Cine Club, The Concertina Club, Doncaster Council, artist Chris Swain, the Mexborough Community Partnership and the Mexborough Business Centre.