That’s right, the credits have not yet rolled on the beloved cinema. In fact, the 122-year-old venue will be getting it’s very own rewind: dusting off their red-velvet seats, switching on the popcorn machine and firing up the projectors once more. The historic gem will get to fulfil its purpose again, with each film lover that steps over the threshold breathing new life into its Art Deco bones.
The man who is setting this all in motion? Kevin Markwick. He already runs the independent cinema Picture House in Uckfield, East Sussex, another long-running cinema that dates back 104 years. There, he has embraced its classic roots – keeping it cosy and plush with traditional decor – while still showing a mix of independent and mainstream films so the locals won’t be missing out on the next big release.
The start of a new adventure. Can’t pretend there isn’t much to do, but I’m excited and want to make The Electric the go to place in Birmingham for film lovers. Be gentle with this southern softie. #birmingham #cinema #theelectric pic.twitter.com/IzRVevnOLN
— Kevin Markwick (@kevinmarkwick) November 1, 2021
The Electric has been shut since the beginning of the pandemic back in March 2020. It first opened in 1909, taking over a converted taxi rank, and showed its first silent film a few days after Christmas that year. It has lived many lives, once going though a stint as an amusement arcade and later showing adult films, before the test of time saw it fall into disrepair.
The previous owner, Tom Lawes, bought it in an auction in 2004 and went about restoring it to its former glory. During the makeover he even found over 300 old film reels, lying forgotten in the cinema’s roof.
Now, Markwick hopes to open The Electric cinema from January 21. As the chilly sets in weather and we’re in search of escape during our free time, this opening will see many turn to the familiar comfort of a cinema as a source of indoor entertainment. The aspirational plans have been met with an influx of support from the locals. Many excited to finally get their indie film fix and see a much-loved piece of the community get a second chance – especially in the hands of someone with a passion for all things cinema.
If you’re a Brummie with a penchant for popcorn and the moving pictures, then be sure to check out The Electric’s film programme here. If the public’s excitement is any indication, it sounds like tickets will soon be disappearing faster than you can say lights, camera, action.
Tickets go on sale from January 11 for showings of Belfast and Nightmare Alley. ⠀