Maybe bigger isn’t always better, but it sure seems to be the case when it comes to Picturehouses. Cambridge Arts Picturehouse sits squarely in this category. Not to be confused with the city’s Arts Theatre, Cambridge’s Picturehouse is located on the busy St Andrew’s Street, opposite Emmanuel College.
It’s within 10 minutes of a larger Vue in the Grand Arcade shopping centre, but the Arts Picturehouse has plenty to tempt customers away from the multiplex.
Like all Picturehouses Cambridge’s programs a delightful variety of world, independent and documentary film, alongside the cream of the mainstream. Like the Phoenix Picturehouse over in Oxford, the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse is organising outdoor screenings in the city’s green spaces this August, and from the 28th August until the 8th September the Picturehouse will play host to Cambridge Film Festival. Highlights this year include previews of David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, sure to wow with its casting combination of the ever-brilliant Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska, and John le Carré adaptation A Most Wanted Man, starring the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The Arts Picturehouse occupies the upper floors of a large square building, which, though it’s not the best Picturehouse façade I’ve seen, does provide ample space for a large bar, loads of freebie postcards and 3 screens.
Like the Stratford Upon Avon Picturehouse, Cambridge sells draught beer (worth a whole point in my eyes) which includes a selection of local guest ales.
Having bought our tickets earlier in the day my boyfriend and I had arguably the best seats screen 2 can offer. The first 6 rows are unstepped, so for optimum viewing sit at least as far back as row G. Judging from the generous size of their second screen, the folks who designed the Arts Picturehouse knew how to make the most of the space and, of course, screen 1 is even more impressive.
The Arts Picturehouse excels in organising special events as well as providing everyday screenings. As if this wasn’t enough, the cinema shares a building with a large Wetherspoons, The Regal. Although Picturehouse and Wetherspoons may seem an odd fit you won’t be complaining when you head downstairs for a post-film drink as The Regal is easier on the wallet than Picturehouse bars, and offers far more choice.
Price 4/5, or 5/5 with membership