The Transformative Power of Cinema and Theatre
Harking back to the ancient amphitheatres of Greece and the american drive in cinema tradition, The Cine -Theatre is envisaged as an installation which will transform the site of the Old Paddling Pool at Millfields Park into a dual function pop-up; a cinema and open air theatre for, a day during the month of June. The project is also viewed as a test bed for future Cine - Theatre pop-ups, which it is hoped could happen at other under used sites across London and beyond.
In September 2014, as part of an MA, I visited the ancient Epidaurus theatre at on the Argolid peninsula in the Peloponnese. Famed for it’s remarkable acoustics, which mean all 14,000 members of the audience would be able to hear a whisper at the centre and it’s fine symmetrical structure, it was built by the architect Polykleitos on a site close to the ancient sanctuary at Askelepios.
Informed by this visit, the ancient Greek and African traditions of oral storytelling and the Greek placement of theatre at the social and political centre of it’s society, the Cine-Theatre seeks to re-activate the Old Paddling Pool site and turn it into a place of storytelling and community activity for a day. It is a piece of concreted ground that, no having particular facilities, is disused most of the time but that nevertheless presents an exciting invitation.
Hosting the programmes of cinema and theatre the Cine will seek to activate the site with dual modes of storytelling.
In the ancient world it was believed that theatre performed an important social function; having the power to heal the mentally and physically ill. Whilst, in the modern era we may not believe in theatre has medical powers, it could be argued that it offers an opportunity for catharsis, sharings, and airings which can be a catalyst for conversation and reflection. As such theatre has the potential to contribute to the healing of social ills. Cinema, a more modern form of storytelling possesses a similar quality, it’s existence in dematerialising darkness augmenting it's power to transport. Both media possess the power to create dreamlike suspensions of reality, and a delicate, ephemeral and transformative power – little pieces of magic people can share and take away.