It is a unique thing to be able to attend an event as both a guest and an employee. For the last month I have been volunteering with They Eat Culture, a community cinema business working in Lancashire. I’ve been involved in the preparation, and promotion of their final event in their BFI Days of Fear and Wonder season. These are my reflections on my first event with the company. The event took place in one of Preston’s largest club venues. As part of their celebration of science fiction cinema, the company organised a final film screening of the cult classic Tron (1982). The screening was accompanied by performances, prior to the film. There was also an after-party at the location (53 Degrees), an immersive video game setting and a scavenger hunt style tour around the city. The tour was designed to set the scene for the night ahead – a world controlled and destroyed by technology and the dangers of humanity’s dependency upon it.
I was waiting at the final venue to greet guests once they completed the tour. I did not accompany the tours myself so can only speculate upon this section of the evening. The general consensus seemed to be that it was an enjoyable experience. When people entered the venue and saw the neon, arcade-like world we had created – they were blown away. The venue looked professional, futuristic and exciting. It wasn’t long until the room was filled with visitors all keen to play on the retro games whilst enjoying beer from the bar. We definitely succeeded in creating a relaxed and unique environment that satisfied and intrigued our guests. As we reached 8pm and turned our attention to the seated events still to come, we prepared our futuristic entrance to the next section of the evening. With a poly-tunnel brimming with smoke and neon string, representing lasers, we managed to entice and unsettle our audience as they made their way to the performance area. The music and performance was under way when they reached their seats, creating an engaging and intense environment. The performances were certainly fitting with the theme we had created. Electronic drones and sounds filled the room whilst a dancer enchanted the audience. Our guest singer also gave a great performance.
After the performances the film began immediately. Once the audience settled into the film’s narrative they seemed engaged with it and the room was filled with a strong sense of community involvement. Simultaneously, people were free to return to the video arcade and bar in order to socialise freely. Neither room disturbed the other. This added to the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere we had maintained all night. The after-party then took place with guests either leaving at this point of preparing for the more upbeat and social part of the event. After the screening I was responsible for gathering audience feedback and interviewing members of the public about their experiences. The general feeling I got from those I spoke to was one of immense enjoyment. People seemed incredibly impressed with the way that the venue looked and the hard-work that had gone into making it so. Overall Tron seemed to be a very original, unusual and impressive event with the reactions and feedback of the audience being greatly positive. I have learnt a lot from my experience of working on this final Future Preston Tours event and see great potential in the ideas and our capability. Tron was an energetic evening that demonstrated the passion of the people responsible for creating it. We want to celebrate the culture we have in Preston and that begins with targeting our audiences, making ourselves known and expanding on our current body of work to make even more professional community cultural events in 2015. Check out our website for more information on our future events.
Thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry.