Monday, November 30, 2009

The Phoenix, Leicester's new Digital Media Centre

Rising (metaphorically) from the ashes of the Phoenix, Leicester’s old art-house cinema, comes a brand spanking new digital media centre. What shall we call it? Ah yes, I know. The Phoenix.

I started watching the building of the new Phoenix from the time they put metal hoardings around the site and started digging a big hole for its foundations. Over the months it grew from the mud, took on an angular, modern form and was finally painted an interesting mustard colour.

Last Thursday the process came to its fruition with the grand opening. I turned up at the stroke of 2pm when the doors opened and found myself in a throng of exited Leicester folk, all eager to explore. I don’t think many of them could have been disappointed.

The building contains three theatres, the largest seating 250, the smallest a cosy 30. There is also a television/film studio, sound recording and editing suites, educational facilities, display areas and the obligatory cafe.

Curiously, the building also contains living accommodation and office space for rent. I have yet to figure out whether this was for economic reasons, or perhaps in response to some planning requirement. Time will tell how this aspect of the place works out.

Leicester's cultural quarter is now host to the architecturally impressive Curve theatre, the LCB Depot - home to exhibition space and many creative businesses, and the new Phoenix. Has anything been missed?

A home for Leicester's writers perhaps?


Marianne Whiting said...

You are just so right! There are several groups and fora for writers poets and playwrights in Leicester. Just think of the possibilities for cooperation and exchange of ideas if they could all be brought in under the same roof, have a place to meet and work alone and together.

Maria said...

I agree with Marianne, a wonderful idea if writers could be united together. I've not had a chance to visit "The Phoenix" yet, but be assured it is now on my list.

Maxine. said...

The cultural quarter is a new centre for Leicester - and it would be wonderful to have a place for writers there too. There are already artists' studios and design office bases, and writers also need an affordable base where resources and ideas can be shared.
The Phoenix has very good facilities - I especially look forward to seeing how they use the courtyard space. And the quality of film projection is superb. I remember the excitement of the opening of the original Phoenix (that dates me!) and the cutting edge theatre productions they put on. I'm looking forward to what comes next.