Cinegi Arts&Film - All the world’s a… screen?

Cinegi Arts&Film is the new digital distribution platform that makes filmed theatre, music, dance, ballet and opera available to audiences at public screenings in all kinds of venues across the UK.

There are a growing number of community cinemas across the UK, and many more public spaces – venues that might not ordinarily screen films or cultural content – like libraries, museums, galleries, community centres and care homes, which can easily transform into a pop-up cinema for special events or regular screenings.

These often small and always friendly community venues provide a perfect environment in which to encounter the intimacy of filmed performance, where audiences can become truly “immersed in the experience” as expressed by this audience member after a screening of Giselle from the Royal Opera House: "Wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the ballet, but in this format found it spectacular and amazing; you get a real sense of their athleticism; you move with them in a way you could not in the theatre."

There are many innovative and interesting ways people are using Cinegi Arts&Film to programme screenings that resonate with local or groups interests, exhibitions and festivals, or simply engaging new audiences into refreshed public spaces, e.g. The Cultural Spring Creative Space pop-up shop in The Bridges Shopping Centre screening NT Live’s The Audience, or Helston Museum screening 1934 archive film of the towns famous Furry Dance from the BFI’s Britain on Film collection alongside York Theatre Royal’s Olivier award-winning production of 'The Railway Children', with the screening set up in the midst of industrial heritage exhibits.

The catalogue includes titles from major arts organisations like the Royal Opera House, the Royal Shakespeare Company, NT live, Shakespeare’s Globe, the London Symphony Orchestra and also smaller companies like Miracle Theatre from Cornwall, York Theatre Royal, Random Acts shorts and the British Council Shakespeare Live Short Film Collection, alongside content from Britain on Film and archive arts and documentary titles from the BFI.

Promoters choose and book a programme online, download it over standard broadband into the free Windows 10 Cinegi player app and it's ready to play; venues don't even need to be connected to the internet.

Why the contribution is important

Not everyone has access to a local cinema or theatre, and it’s not always technically feasible or economically viable for venues to screen cultural content on general release. Cinegi Arts&Film changes this, expanding the window for filmed performance, making high definition titles from major arts organisations easily and affordably available to local promoters and venues.

For regular film clubs and societies, the Cinegi Arts&Film service offers a greater diversity of content which can be incorporated into regular programming to help attract new audiences, providing unique cultural opportunities and experiences. An elderly audience member explains after a screening of Macbeth from Shakespeare’s Globe: “As you can see I can't get to London and go to the Globe Theatre – you have brought the Globe to me in my village – thank you, thank you so much.”

Supported by Arts Council England in partnership with the BFI, Cinegi Arts&Film is an action research project testing how a digital service can engage new audiences for cultural content. The research partners are The Audience Agency and NESTA. Findings will be made publically available on completion of this research phase.

by mandyberry on July 18, 2017 at 04:45PM

Current Rating

Average score : 5.0
Based on : 3 votes


  • Posted by willpsaunders July 18, 2017 at 17:21

    How important is locality/community to the success of Cinegi? Would more local content drive up engagement with under served audiences?
  • Posted by JohnDenton July 19, 2017 at 08:02

    I have worked with a number of Arts and music venues on filming Artistic work. Often the cost of doing this seems prohibitive and there seems little support beyond the sterling work of thespace. It would appear that we need to engage with the media sector to help in understanding the best way to capture and film artistic works in an affordable and repeatable way. This is especially important for organisations that tour and don't have their own venue.
    Have there been examples where this has happened?
  • Posted by mandyberry July 19, 2017 at 15:03

    We know anecdotally and from previous experience that programming local archive content with theatre, dance, opera, music, can engage an audience that is initially attracted by the archive rather than the arts content. That is why Cinegi Arts&Film carries local archive from Britain on Film alongside a wide mix of filmed performance from both large and smaller companies. It is too early yet to know if our research will evidence this.
  • Posted by willpsaunders July 20, 2017 at 10:24

    In terms of filming content - yes its worth looking at how broadcasters engage in this space - but look at low level rigs and opportunities ie look at how Comedy Central are creating comedy content with Soho Theatre?
  • Posted by willpsaunders July 20, 2017 at 10:25

    In terms of filming content - yes its worth looking at how broadcasters engage in this space - but look at low level rigs and opportunities ie look at how Comedy Central are creating comedy content with Soho Theatre?
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