Tuesday 1 September is the day Watershed building reopens its doors - which of course includes our cinemas and Café and Bar. We always said it was temporary, but we didn’t think it would be 168 days later!
Our cinema programme opens with a season of ‘Films That Love the Cinema’ and love to be seen in the cinema. A host of brilliant films that are at their best seen in the unique shared experience of a darkened cinema which we’ve all missed over the past months.
Of course things are going to be a little bit different and we’ve listened to all the feedback we received about what you need from us, thank you so much for talking to us. We have new safety measures in place to ensure that both our audiences and our staff have a safe and enjoyable experience. The full details of all our measures can be found here - but just to give you an idea of some of the changes and adaptations…
We have new opening times and days – from Tue 1 Sept we will be open from Tuesday through to Sunday each week and the cinema programme will run from Thursdays to Sundays each week.
We’ve reduced capacity in our cinemas and Café & Bar, there’s new one-way systems for moving around the building and hand sanitising stations are available throughout the building, there’s also some new signage and some changes to the way the toilets are used.
We got team members working as foyer hosts at the entrance to welcome, direct and answer any questions visitors may have and we will be asking all customers and audiences to try to book in advance using online booking for the cinema and Café & bar and asking everyone to use contactless payment.
Like the cinemas we’ve also reduced the capacity in the Café and Bar, and we are asking customers to book a table in advance to avoid disappointment. We’ve also introduced table service, meaning visitors can now order food on their phone, laptop or tablet using Watershed’s free wi-fi, but we’ll also have alternatives for those who might not have access to these.
As well as an enhanced cleaning regime, all our staff will wear PPE and have been trained on all the new health and safety measures. Team members will be available in every area of the building to talk to and help customers and audiences. If you are visiting the building you will need to wear a face covering whilst in the cinemas and whilst moving around the building – however we are mindful that some customers and audiences may be unable to wear one.
Mark Cosgrove our Cinema Curator says of the reopening programme:
“Thinking about what our reopening programme would be, I wanted to present films which have at their very core the essence of the cinematic - that unique intense experience shared in the darkened auditorium.”
You can read his full introduction here – tickets are available to book now and due to the limited capacity we would encourage everyone to book their tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Highlights include: Suhaib Gasmelbari's documentary Talking About Trees, Mati Diop’s award-winning Atlantics, Diao Yinan’s The Wild Goose Lake and Céline Sciamma’s glorious fourth feature Portrait of a Lady on Fire. We’ll also be showing; Mark Jenkin’s Bait which playfully speaks to the history of film, Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela and the mysterious simplicity of Oliver Laxe’s Fire Will Come to name a few.
Clare Reddington, Watershed CEO says:
“We are all so pleased to be able to reopen our wonderful building and begin to present cultural cinema and open our lovely Café & Bar once again. Our priority over this period has been to ensure that our building is safe for everyone, and that we can deliver an enjoyable experience for customers, audience and our staff.”
“However we know that not everyone will be able to visit straight away - or even for some time. Lockdown has enabled us to develop new ways of engaging with remote audiences in Bristol and across the world and we don't want that to stop. We will continue to work with distributors to present films online where available, and our Studio Lunchtime Talks will also continue online for now. We are also beginning research into how we produce accessible hybrid events - designed for audiences both in venue and online. There aren't many examples of how this might work - so bear with us as we explore the potential and we will be sure to let you know what we discover.
You can find out more about our re-opening and take a look at some of the changes here.
To support Watershed in reopening, donations can be made at watershed.co.uk/support-us