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Butley Oyster Inn launches ‘Suffolk’s smallest cinema’ in converted barn

PUBLISHED: 12:27 01 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:20 01 September 2017

The Butley Oyster landlord Rob Butcher takes a seat in the tiny cinema. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Butley Oyster landlord Rob Butcher takes a seat in the tiny cinema. Picture: GREGG BROWN

It’s unlikely to host many glitzy film premieres – but Suffolk’s newest cinema has another claim to fame.

Enjoying a film, left to right, is Samuel Newman, Zoe Newman and Tom Wistow. Picture: GREGG BROWNEnjoying a film, left to right, is Samuel Newman, Zoe Newman and Tom Wistow. Picture: GREGG BROWN

With 21 seats, the Oyster Film Club believes its screening room in a converted barn is the county’s smallest.

Launched as part of the Oyster Inn’s plans to revive its role in the community, the cinema hopes to give villagers a chance to enjoy “movie magic” closer to home.

Andrew Newman, who bought the pub with wife Judi last year, saving it from closure, said a cinema was always on the cards.

“From our first conversations about the Oyster, we loved the idea of a mini cinema screening room in the bars as something different in this corner of Suffolk,” he said.

The Butley Oyster is opening 'Suffolk's smallest cinema'. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe Butley Oyster is opening 'Suffolk's smallest cinema'. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“Pub cinemas are really popular in London, and we have met so many film enthusiasts locally who are excited about the idea of a rural pub film club that shows slightly more unusual films.”

Landlord Rob Butcher added: “It’s already creating a lot of interest, especially among people who haven’t seen something like this locally in a while.

“It’s a great example of pubs diversifying in these times.”

Though small, the cinema is fitted with genuine velvet seats, which Mr Newman bought on eBay from the Science Museum in London as part of changes to its auditorium. They were collected in a horsebox from Felixstowe before Andrew Stowe, the pub’s builder, created mini tiers.

Rob Butcher, landlord at the Butley Oyster, who runs the pub with his wife Tracy. Picture: GREGG BROWNRob Butcher, landlord at the Butley Oyster, who runs the pub with his wife Tracy. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The first film shown was Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash about a young jazz drummer. There are plans for theme nights, like a foreign film night, when the pub’s chef will create a meal for the specials board to suit the screening.

Regulars are said to have been watching the barns develop with “curiosity”, with some making suggestions for future screenings.

Mr Newman said he is keen to offer locals the chance to curate a mini programme of films.

“I didn’t know this until recently, but apparently there are a group of local people who absolutely love Western films,” he added. “I don’t know anything about that period of film making, but I’d love to see their top four favourite Westerns – it is about sharing some movie magic and not just seeing whatever the latest new release is.”

The Butley Oyster was saved from closure last year. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe Butley Oyster was saved from closure last year. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The cinema’s programme is advertised in the pub. People can also email filmclub@butleyoyster.com to join a mailing list or reserve tickets, which are free.

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