Cinegi Arts&Film is the new digital distribution platform that makes filmed theatre, music, dance, ballet and opera available to audiences in public screenings at all kinds of venues across the UK. The LSO has partnered with Cinegi to provide full-length concerts filmed at the Barbican Centre in London, helping us to bring our music to parts of the UK that we can't get to in person. In this post, Cinegi's Content Manager Paul Homer explains how it works.
Supported by Arts Council England in partnership with the BFI, Cinegi Arts&Film brings the best of the arts directly to communities, wherever they happen to be. Not everyone has access to a local cinema or theatre, and it’s not always technically feasible or economically viable for venues to screen cultural content on general release. Cinegi Arts&Film changes this, expanding the window for filmed performance, making high definition titles from major arts organisations easily and affordably available for public screenings to independent local promoters, with strong potential for revenue generation for smaller and non-traditional venues. Alison Paterson, Manager of Blackhall Community Centre said: 'We have a lot of regular people, but we need to attract new people, different ages and families. Doing something like this hits a new market for us!'
Promoters choose and book a programme online, download it over standard broadband into the free Windows 10 Cinegi player app and it's ready to play. Screening venues don't even need to be connected to the internet and can play out a downloaded programme in high definition through a simple digital projection setup. Community cinema projectionist Tyrone describes his first experience of using Cinegi: 'The concept and content are great... and the app is really easy to use.'
There are a growing number of community cinemas across the UK, and many more public spaces – venues that might not ordinarily screen films or cultural content – like libraries, museums, galleries, community centres and care homes, which can easily transform into a pop-up cinema for special events or regular screenings.
These often small and always friendly community venues provide a perfect environment in which to encounter the intimacy of filmed performance, where audiences can become truly “immersed in the experience” as expressed by this audience member after a screening of Giselle from the Royal Opera House: 'Wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the ballet, but in this format found it spectacular and amazing; you get a real sense of their athleticism; you move with them in a way you could not in the theatre.'
For regular film clubs and societies, the Cinegi Arts&Film catalogue offers a greater diversity of content which can be incorporated into regular programming to help attract new audiences, providing unique cultural opportunities and experiences. An elderly audience member explains after a screening of Macbeth from Shakespeare’s Globe: 'As you can see I can't get to London and go to the Globe Theatre – you have brought the Globe to me in my village – thank you, thank you so much.'
There are many innovative and interesting ways people are using Cinegi Arts&Film to programme screenings that resonate with local or groups interests, exhibitions and festivals, or simply engaging new audiences into refreshed public spaces, for example The Cultural Spring Creative Space pop-up shop in The Bridges Shopping Centre screening NT Live’s The Audience, or Helston Museum screening 1934 archive film of the town's famous Furry Dance from the BFI’s Britain on Film collection, alongside York Theatre Royal’s Olivier Award-winning production of The Railway Children, with the screening set up in the midst of industrial heritage exhibits.
Gill Johnson, Director of Creative Media at Arts Council England says 'the huge success in recent years of cinema screenings of productions by companies like the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House shows there is a massive public appetite for great art on screen. Cinegi aims to go one step further by bringing art on film to everyone’s doorstep, in venues of all types and sizes, wherever in the country they happen to live. We’re delighted that so many arts companies are making their content available to support this exciting project.'
The catalogue includes titles from the London Symphony Orchestra alongside theatre, opera and ballet and content from Britain on Film and archive arts and documentary titles from the BFI. London Symphony Orchestra programmes available for booking now are Ravel, Dutilleux & Delage conducted by Sir Simon Rattle; Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Waverley Overture and Les Nuits d’Ete; the Michael Tilson Thomas 70th Birthday Gala Concert featuring Gershwin and Shostakovitch; and Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducting Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 3 and Hebrides Overture alongside Schumann’s Piano Concerto performed by Maria João Pires.
Interested in programming an LSO concert or other arts content in for your venue? You can explore the catalogue and book a screening now at cinegi.com.
Cinegi Arts&Film is a project from Cinegi Media Ltd supported by Arts Council England, in partnership with the BFI.