Design: Not just any old road movie
The advent of better public transport to urban centres, and the enthusiastic implementation of the Draconian Fairs Act of 1871 suppressed much of the merriment (or "grievous immorality", as the act characterised it), but even as late as the early-Seventies there were pockets of the North Riding of Yorkshire where the travelling film-man would arrive every few months, set up his silver screen, and give inhabitants the opportunity to see a double-bill of Elvis Presley movies a decade or so after the rest of the planet.
At least part of this rich heritage is soon to be revived thanks to the excellent Hi-Arts Mobile Cinema. Designed in 1997 by Circus Architects of Clerkenwell, the cinema (see model, below) was commissioned by the Scottish Film Council and Hi-Arts to bring the joy of big screen entertainment, Keanu Reeves and possibly even the Pearl and Dean theme music to isolated communities in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
Partly funded by the National Lottery, the total project cost pounds 630,000, a good deal more than the travelling film-man's equipment, but then the Hi-Arts mobile cinema is to an A35 van, projector, portable screen and tripod what Thunderbird Two is to a hang-glider. When being towed by an HGV lorry it is the size and shape of the traditional artic trailer, albeit one that's adjustable suspension allows it to be lowered to cope with low ferry roofs or bridges.
When called into action, however, an anemometer checks wind-safety conditions and then the push of a button sees support legs emerge from recesses, floor panels pivot into position, and the sides unfold hydraulically to form a rectangular, 110-seat, stepped auditorium complete with projectionist's booth, widescreen, covered entrance and wheelchair lift. All that's missing from the more conventional movie theatre is a Wengers hot-dog concession and a lounge bar with diagonal striped wallpaper.
What programme of films will be shown is not known, but it is to be hoped that, if only for historical reasons, a window may be found for Fun In Acapulco and Blue Hawaii.
Circus Architects, 0171-833 1999. The cinema is one of the Design Council's millennium products; for a brochure, call 0845 306 999
Arts & Ents blogs
Owen Howells is a DJ/producer who grew up in Australia but was born in the UK. He came back to the U...
Fancy seeing a play about serial killers? How about inviting a funeral director into your home for a...
There are a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refl...
Liam Gallagher slams Daft Punk: 'I could have written Get Lucky in an hour'
Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
After 61 films, including The Hangover Part III, Heather Graham admits she still likes to boogie
Film review: The Hangover Part III - it tries hard to be funny but fails to raise a solitary guffaw
- 1 Liam Gallagher slams Daft Punk: 'I could have written Get Lucky in an hour'
- 2 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 3 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.