Monday 29th September
Article and reviews by Adam Morris
Chesterfield's Pomegranate Theatre has marked the completion of their £750,000 renovation with a packed weekend of exclusive screenings.
The three-month project, which furnished the spacious auditorium with a new projector, projection screen and advanced sound equipment, has been far from disappointing. Since the complete overhaul, acoustics and demeanour have been astonishing.
Lighting has also seen technical advancements and the new audio sound booth at the back houses the master controls, making the whole business of staging a show, or screening a film completely seamless.
Sound engineer, Jack Floyd, told me that he is looking forward to playing with the equipment. He was particularly excited about the "facility to receive satellite signals" through the projector's new hard drive, meaning the establishment can now stream live from National Theatres all over the country - not bad if you're a West End fan.
Despites the changes in decor, colour scheme, seating and layout, the theatre has been loyal to its roots. The antiquity of the original design has been kept and the same red on gold ambiance still takes you back to the days of the late 1800s.
Netta Mainiero, line manager, sees the importance of maintaining links between the old and the new. Having worked in the building for twelve years, she is very nostalgic about "the unique, little theatre in Chesterfield". She sheds some light on the wealth of stories within those historic walls, adding that people are always willing to "help each other".
Creating more space has also been a priority with popular performances attracting big crowds. Floor installations in the centre aisle have allowed for extra seats if necessary and two more rows of lustrous chairs have been fitted at the rear.
With the weekend in full swing, audiences have been excited about the renovations. Regulars were impressed with the changes; new faces have also said they will be offering support in the future.
The Pomegranate Theatre has been a testament to how the old and new can coexist in a colourful and enigmatic way. With a relaxed and honest atmosphere, coupled with the enthusiastic chit-chat, it felt like being in an art-house again.
The whole experience reminded you of why you loved movies, which is something you don't always find in a Cineplex. With that in mind, it is safe to assume that their dominance as a cultural landmark in Chesterfield will be sticking around.
Following this busy weekend, the staff are enthused about the upcoming production, Black Coffee, an Agatha Christie story which is due to show this week. Tickets can be purchased at the box office.
Film Reviews at the Pomegranate -
Jimi Hendrix: By my side.
Melody meets magic in this immersive docudrama by John Ridley.
Tethering itself in a black and white interview that highlights Hendrix's success, the film then breaks away to a year in the life of the guitarist's struggle to be noticed in the dingy clubs of New York and London.
As he comes face to face with obstacles, we're shown drug-fuelled montages, old photographs and stock footage of sixties iconography so the spectator can experience them as Hendrix might have.
However, look away for one second, you'd be left wondering if you got lost in the middle of it all.
Notable features of the film include the use of lighting and the way the film played with silence just as effectively as the music.
Here the audience could really feel how enclosed Jimi's surroundings were. Combine that with great performances by Andre Benjamin and Imogen Poots, all this came together to create a piece of film that retold the Hendrix experience in a way that was sumptuous; sensual; staggering.
In the end, the film definitely lived up to being a 'wild thing'.
Film Reviews at the Pomegranate -
The Grand Seduction
A film by Don Mckellar, it is nostalgic, family driven storytelling that, unlike some comedy films, promises to be funny and then genuinely is.
Facing the fearsome prospect of change, Murray (played by Brenden Gleeson) is tasked with saving the small harbour of Tickle Cove, who are in dire need of a resident doctor in order to secure a factory deal and evade financial ruin.
What follows is an outlandish and insane series of plots to get the doctor to stay.
The landscape and no-nonsense community are a foundation for hard-headed personalities and quirky misfits, all of which are played to very well by the likes of Gleeson, Pinsent and Balaban.
Alienated by the luxuries of the outside world, there are grounds for comical moments where the dialogue balances conflict and innuendo with surprising success.
Combining nautical themes, community spirit and the Gaelic accent, the tale is a grand reminder of how friendship and solidarity truly tie a community together.
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