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Film4 Summer Screen
Photograph: Somerset House

Somerset House’s outdoor cinema is over for good

Film4 Summer Screen has packed up its projector

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen
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In news that will be a blow to movie lovers across the capital (but maybe a relief to their buttocks), the Summer screening season on the cobbles of Somerset House has finished for good. 

The Film4 Summer Screen season has been an annual August fixture in the grand neoclassical courtyard, hosting more than 200 movies over 15 years – including more than a few high-profile premieres. 

It’s where Pedro Almodóvar loved to introduce his films to UK audiences, and its wide-ranging and always smartly curated mix of new releases and classics – not to mention some killer double bills – drew sellout crowds every summer. 

‘[It] was amongst one of the first large-scale events to be presented in [the] courtyard, and set the precedent for many other outdoor cinemas popping up around the UK,’ said Somerset House in a statement.

‘As we look positively towards the future and focus on commissioning and curating new and transformative work for all audiences to experience as part of our programme, we feel it is now the right time to give opportunity to a variety of new voices and innovative ideas during the summer.’

In place of Summer Screen, a new courtyard event has been announced for August: ‘This Bright Land’, billed as ‘a welcoming wonderland, open to all, with a joyful day and night programme platforming both established creatives and grassroots communities.’

It’s exciting but it’s not ‘Inception’ with Michael Caine there to explain the ending…

There are no current plans for Film4 Summer Screen to find a new home in London. 

Somerset House’s riverside terrace bar is back this summer.

The 40 most beautiful outdoor cinemas in the world.

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