July 2020

Leeds alumna creates lockdown cinema experience

Picture credit: The Wild Bride

When the work stopped coming in, Rhian Hughes (Music 2016) decided to focus on creating her own.

Rhian, a self-employed events manager, organised the Multi Story Picture House Drive-Up Cinema a socially distanced outdoor cinema experience which will allow people to enjoy that ‘going out’ feeling in a safe manner.

From 17-19 July, the Multi Story Picture House will show 9 screenings for film-lovers to enjoy from the comfort of their cars. Taking place at Bowcliffe Hall, Bramham, attendees will be able to tune in through car radios, whilst watching the film on giant LED screens.

"I wanted to give people something to look forward to, as well as help generate some work in an industry that has ground to a halt."

Rhian Hughes (Music 2016)
Multi Story Picture House

The idea of organising a drive-up cinema experience in Leeds had been brewing at the back of Rhian’s mind for some time. It wasn’t until Covid-19 restrictions were brought in, however, that it came to fruition.

“Unfortunately, like many others, when lockdown came in all of my current and future work contracts were cancelled,” Rhian explained. “It’s been a difficult time for live events, and I realised that the prospect of getting any new work in at least the next 6 months was very unlikely, so I tried to spend my time focusing on how to create work for myself.”

Having seen the growing popularity of drive-up events in Europe and Australia, Rhian felt it might be something that could work here, too. Given the socially distanced nature of the format, it ticked safety boxes in ways that a normal cinema experience might not. “I wanted to give people something to look forward to, as well as help generate some work in an industry that has ground to a halt.” After developing the website and social media pages, initial interest in the event suggests she might do exactly that.

“The support for the event has been amazing so far I’ve been able to connect with a lot of different people across varying industries, some of which I’ve been able to contract on the event too. I’ve set myself what some might describe as an incredibly ambitious target for ticket sales (giant LED screens don’t come cheap!). It’s made for a very interesting lockdown experience, that’s for sure!”

Picture credit: Gabe Shakour

The event will allow attendees to enjoy the cinema experience in line with the government guidance – cars will be socially distanced, and guests will be checked in by scanning their tickets through their windows. Food and drink from local Yorkshire suppliers will be available to order via an app, with orders being delivered straight to cars.

And if things go well, it could just be the start for the venture. “I would love for Multi Story Picture House to be able to continue on with further events. Since I am only a one-man band at the moment, my sights are firmly set on 17-19 July, but definitely watch this space for future announcements!”

More information on tickets and screening schedules can be found on the Multi Story Picture House website.