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Filming to start in Victoria Baths for 'The Drowning of Arthur Braxton'

Written by
Edwina McEachran

Manchester-set novel 'The Drowning of Arthur Braxton' is to be adapted into a film which will be made in the city after a Kickstarter bid by YouTuber Luke Cutforth recently reached more than £80,000 to fund the project.

After releasing a few clues with the hashtag #whoisarthur and with the help of social media, the project has passed its original £75,000 target - with £10,000 going towards securing Victoria Baths, where the novel is set, as its prime filming location.

The grade II-listed baths will be the backdrop for the scenes in which school runaway Arthur finds a naked woman swimming in the old deserted Edwardian building. This sensitive modern fairy tale depicts the trauma and pain of adolescence and features the baths as an integral part of the narrative. Cutforth on his Kickstarter page talks about how it would be a 'disservice' to the story if the film was shot anywhere else and would be worth every penny of the £10,000 hire fee.

Victoria Baths have been a popular location for filming in recent years due to its relatively unscathed Edwardian interior, with scenes from BBC’s 'Sherlock Holmes' and 'Peaky Blinders' filed in the venue. As seen below on the 'Peaky Blinders' set, one of the baths was transformed into a horse fair by laying down wooden planks and filling the space with saw dust. An interview with production designer Grant Montgomery revealed that when looking around the building it reminded him of Horse of the Year shows, but they had to make sure that they used horses that could fit under the 6ft door.

The building's popularity as a film set has gone back as far as 1991, where it was part of the 'Prime Suspect' set. It has also housed innovative theatre productions including HOME's 'Romeo and Juliet' due to its iconic and atmospheric environment. This production, directed by Walter Meierjohann, used the intricate architectural details to its advantage and was commended for its unique use of the building. As well as the potential location of Cutforth's new movie, the baths will be hosting a diverse number of events in the autumn including vintage fairs, Indy Man Beer Con and Live Wrestling in November.

Author Caroline Smailes has backed the project and has spoken about her confidence in Cutforth due to his passion for the story and his insistence on keeping the film location within its original setting in Manchester.

Follow the progress of 'The Drowning of Arthur Braxton' on the project's TwitterFacebook or Kickstarter page.

See Time Out's gallery of photographs of Victoria Baths.

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