It’s silent cinema, but not as we know it


A new kind of silent cinema is in town. The Andaz Hotel in London’s Liverpool Street has been trumpeting a special form of entertainment for its guests. It is offering them silent cinema. Marvellous, you may think, how immensely civilised, and does the lounge pianist provide the musical accompaniment as well? But, no, this is silent cinema of a different kind. The punters sit before the screen (the films are projected on to the wall of the 6-storey atrium), don wireless headphones, and then watch sound movies on screen but with the sounds hidden from all but themselves. Here’s how the hotel describes it:

Silent Cinema is a world first – it’s never been done anywhere else. Ever. Yet it’s beautifully simple: you wear wireless headphones to watch films on a full-size cinema screen. Sit back and relax without the unwelcome soundtrack – no noisy neighbours and no shhhhh! It’s like watching a movie at home only better because you’re in an amazing room full of like-minded people. And there’s a bar. You’re all enjoying an individual experience. Together.

Should you be in London at any time, you can book tickets via Ticketweb. There have been two screenings so far, both festive. They kicked things off with Black Christmas (oh joy) and on December 14th they’re showing It’s a Wonderful Life, with nothing to be heard bar the clink of glasses and the occasional sniffle.

Silent Cinema (of this kind) is not restricting itself to the Andaz. Damien Barr Silent Cinema, to be give its full, trademarked name (yes, Silent Cinema is now a trademarked term) has plans for further exhibition elsewhere, in London and Brighton, including outside screenings. Damien Barr is a journalist and radio playwright. So now you know.