The Electric Cinema is the UK’s oldest working cinema, an art deco gem situated in the centre of Birmingham. Originally opened in 1909, it’s been through various cinematic incarnations over the years, surviving two world wars and changing its name from The Tatler to The Tivoli to The Jacey. It’s shown newsreels, cartoon and even adult films across its long lifespan, but in 2004 was completely renovated and now operates as an independent business showing the best of arthouse and mainstream cinema releases.
The cinema’s raison d’être is offering a genuine alternative to the multiplex experience – so popcorn and giant buckets of coke are banned in favour of olives, homemade cake and a licensed bar that serves spirits, specially-themed cocktails and even absinthe, while the screens themselves feature luxury sofa seating and waiter service. You might even spot a celebrity in the audience, the likes of Harry Hill, Dara O’Briain and Shane Meadows having frequented the screens, and Katy Perry even celebrated her birthday here with a special screening of Ghostbusters.
The Electric also programmes a number of special events across the year, including director Q&As, wine tastings and live stand-up comedy. Forthcoming attractions for 2013 include a visit from Siouxsie & The Banshees’ Steven Severin, who’ll be providing a live score to another slice of classic cinema, the third annual Shock & Gore horror and fantasy festival and a special whiskey tasting event tied to a screening of the Ken Loach film The Angels’ Share.