Last week, I was delighted to join the opening of the new Picturehouse Cinema at Filmworks in central Ealing. Fifteen years after the Empire Cinema closed, this has felt like an epic production and there have been times during the pandemic and in the recent economic crisis when it seemed that this day might not arrive.
But, like all epic productions, it has been a long time in the making but certainly worth the wait – with a fabulous multi-screen cinema in the heart of Ealing joining existing film venues at the Ealing Project and the ActOne Cinema in Acton.
Huge thanks should go to Picturehouse for staying the course and making the dream of a new cinema in Ealing a reality. The council is also proud to have played its role in helping this to happen, even going so far as to use its Compulsory Purchase powers in 2012 to secure the future of the site.
People in Ealing rightly celebrate the borough’s film history and traditions. Mention Ealing to those outside the borough and they may think of The Ealing Comedies made in the golden years of British cinema. Or maybe the world-famous Ealing Studios, which was making movies in 1902, before other major British studios and even before Universal Film Studios in Los Angeles was founded in 1912. And, today, there is the buzz of independent creative studios right across the borough carrying on this great tradition.
Our rich culture today is, of course, about more than just this fantastic cinematic heritage. Music, performing arts, a diverse programme of events and a passion for creativity and storytelling showcasing the unique identities of our communities. But, while other major cities such as Birmingham and Liverpool may try to compete with us to be recognised as the home of British Bhangra (thanks to Southall) or the ‘Home of Loud’ (thanks to Hanwell’s links to Marshall), Ealing will always be the undisputed home of British cinema.
Borough of Culture
Culture, arts and creativity. These mean different things to different people. But they are also the things that bring us all together. The stories told through art and cultural activities create better understanding and help to build stronger communities.
Last year, when the council produced its cultural manifesto, I was struck by the passion, creativity and energy of people, the cultural organisations and those working in creative industries throughout the borough. The need for more spaces, more places and, above all, the need for more opportunities for everyone to be creative in whatever form they choose was voiced loud and clear.
That’s why I’m excited to announce that Ealing is bidding to be the London Borough of Culture 2025.
We will be competing with other London boroughs but, if our bid is successful, additional funding and the creative energy released will be a great opportunity to deliver on these ambitions and build even stronger, more vibrant communities.
I urge you to get behind the bid so that, in 2025, we can celebrate what makes our borough so special.
Next week, a new website will be live and will give you somewhere you can show your support for the bid and share your ideas. You’ll be able to find out more about that here on aroundealing.com
Let’s do this together.