If you go out in the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise. Deep in the woods of rural Lincolnshire is one place you wouldn’t really expect to find a cinema. However, that is exactly where you will find the small independent cinema called the Kinema in the Woods. Taking a trip through the trees will also be a trip through time as you come across the 1920s themed attraction. Open seven evenings a week, the nostalgia trip cannot be missed, with offerings of new and classic films, at competitive prices.
Starting its life as a sports pavilion for a local hotel in the late 19th Century, the Kinema didn’t become a cinema until 1922, after the hotel burned down on Easter Sunday in 1920. The ruins of the hotel were then bought, which included the pavilion, and transformed into the building used today. However, life had a bumpy start for the new owners. The doors opened on September 11, 1922 and the first film scheduled to be shown was The Lion Eaters. That film didn’t arrive, though, and so a Charlie Chaplin film was shown in its place. Chaplin has now become a prominent figure at the Kinema, with several items of Chaplin memorabilia being displayed in the foyer.
The Kinema in the Woods is the only cinema in the United Kingdom that still uses rear projection. This is because of the way the roof was built. It has trusses which are too low for an image to be projected from the back of the auditorium and so films in Screen One are projected from the back of the screen and then flipped using a mirror. That’s not the only unique selling point the Kinema has to offer. During intermissions, a man will often rise up out of the ground in front of the screen. That’s because, just in front of Screen One, there is an organ that is hidden away.
Played by the Kinema’s resident organist, Alan Underwood, the instrument will often be accompanied by a series of instruments, such as a piano and bells, that magically play themselves. Introduced in June 1987, James Green, the Compton Kinestra organ features an ornate lacquered red and gold console with an eighteenth century oriental design. Until 1953, The Kinema in the Woods used highly sought after deck chairs. The majority of the seats were the standard tip-up seats, but the first six rows were of deck chairs costing 1 shilling 3d. They were then replaced by more tip-chairs.
In Screen Two, you will find a more traditional overhead projector, with an interesting wallpaper design. The walls depict scenes of what life was like in rural Lincolnshire in trompe l’oeil style painted by Canadian artist Murray Hubick. The screen was not part of the original cinema and opened on July 8, 1994. Four Weddings and a Funeral was the planned film for this screens opening and, unlike its sister screen, the showing was a success.
Faye Poulton said on the Kinema in the Woods’ Facebook page: “[I] visited this weekend with my mum, little girl and little boy to see Paddington for my little girl’s birthday and what can I say? We loved it from the minute we pulled up and once inside it only got better.”
“Cosy lovely atmosphere, friendly staff. It was like stepping back in time. My children loved the organist, glitter ball and magic piano. I wish all cinemas were like this as I somehow think our local ones are not going to cut it anymore after been here. We all loved the whole experience and we’ll definitely be back.”
Gary Tyres said: “What a fantastic place. I wish it was closer to where I live because I would use it all the time. If you have never been there can’t be a better place to see films and kids will never have seen anything like it. I’ve got to take grandkids.”
The Kinema in the Woods is one of the only places in the country where you can go to the cinema and watch either a Charlie Chaplin classic, or a new hit release like Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Not a fan of large crowds and busy cinemas? Well that is not an issue with the Kinema as it is available for private hire. If you want to make your children’s birthday party a historical event, or if your school is planning an end of term get away, the Kinema must be at the top of the list of destinations.
Tom Elmer, a Woodhall Spa local said: “I go to the Kinema pretty much any time I want to go see a film.”
“Not only is it cheaper and easier to get to than the Odeon in the city, but it’s also just an all round nicer experience.”
The Kinema in the Woods has to be the go to independent cinema for anyone who loves films and loves the entire movie-going experience. Local, lighthearted and full of nostalgia, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better cinema experience at the same price.
Written by Ben Ayres