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The centrepiece of the Wanstead Fringe, the open air Kinema, is returning on Friday 10 September. The event has become reliably the most popular event in the whole Fringe, and has always been a memorable, atmospheric event.

This year the film showing will be The Lorax, which was chosen as the 2020 film before Covid cancelled the Kinema at the last moment. This year there’s even more reason to show it: the Dr Seuss book it’s based on is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the message of children being able to make a difference to the environment could hardly be more timely. You can read more about why Fringe organisers have chosen the film here.

This year, to help with social distancing, the event will be held at the Kinema’s original venue, Wanstead Cricket Club. There will be a bar and hot food available.

The event has always sold out, so you are advised to get tickets now via the Fringe website. Click below for details.

Wanstead Kinema

And just as a reminder, here’s a taste of the atmosphere of the last Kinema from 2019.

wansteadkinemaBy this time next week the Wanstead Fringe will be well under way, with stalls for the Jumble Trail all set up and Nightingale Lane girding itself for the Duke Street Party.

fringeweblogoThe Fringe, in case you don’t know, is Wanstead’s home-made celebration which features the best of local talent and great events for people of all ages. Every year the most popular of these events is the Wanstead Kinema, and this year it will again take place in the open air of the gardens at Christ Church on the High Street.

It’s on the evening of Saturday 17 September, and will be showing the huge hit film Zootropolis. Tickets are now on general sale – £6 for adults, £3 for under-16s. You can buy tickets now through the Wanstead Fringe website here – but get in early. We usually sell out (in a good way).

Architect's impression of the site, from Platform 5 Architects
Architect’s impression of the site, from Platform 5 Architects
This may come as a surprise to some, but the end has arrived for the original Wanstead Kinema with the start of the building’s demolition.

Only those who monitor planning news closely will have realised permission was granted this summer for the knocking down of the building which housed Wanstead’s cinema until 1956, and latterly a snooker hall and then the Nam Am restaurant.

Though the redevelopment means the end of one of the High Street’s oldest buildings, it does mean the creation of  two new four-storey buildings on the site giving a shopfront on the High Street and some housing – three three-bedroom flats, three two-bedroom flats and two one-bedroom flats.

The designs are by Platform 5 Architects from Hackney and seem, when compared to an earlier view of the building, to be not dissimilar.  The architects say the plan has been “carefully crafted to fit into its sensitive context and echoes the vernacular building forms in order to maintain the village character of the street”.


The site, as captured by Google Streetview in 2008
The site, as captured by Google Streetview in 2008
The demolition comes after a number of attempts at obtaining planning permission – one of which in 2010 was rejected with the verdict that it involved the “inappropriate and unjustified demolition of a modest and relatively simple Victorian building”. 

Update, Friday: Wansteadium reader AJS Sends this photo and writes: “Not much left of the back hall yesterday..  and agree it’s a shame the plans couldn’t have included a revamped Purbani’s.


*Fans of cinema need not be too sad. The spirit of the Wanstead Kinema long ago left that building, and now resides at If you’d like to get involved in future screenings, please get in contact via that page.

wansteadkinemaThe Wanstead Kinema is returning NEXT WEEK to kick off the second Wanstead Fringe which starts on Saturday 6 September. And with a new venue, it may have found its spiritual home – it’s going to take place in the gardens of Christ Church on the High Street. Tree-covered, sheltered, slap bang in the middle of Wanstead… what more could an open air cinema want?

screenshotThe film will be the brilliant LEGO MOVIE, and will be the first big event of the week-long Fringe. More than 25 events will take place at locations across Wanstead – the full programme is now available online at the Wanstead Fringe website, pictured, where tickets for many of the events can also be bought. Printed copies will be widely available over the next few days.

The Fringe includes music, drama, comedy (featuring Arthur Smith), photography, talks, wine-tasting, food events, more music, craft workshops – and several different kinds of talks. It’s much bigger than last year’s Fringe, and once again is taking place with the financial support of Petty Son and Prestwich.

With a weather forecast which is looking good for next week, the Kinema should again be a magically atmospheric event. You are advised to book early though since places are limited. Prices are £5 for adults and £2 for under-16s (part of this is for membership of the Wanstead Kinema film club). You can book tickets at this page.

And here’s a taster of the film…

befordfalls4People of Wanstead, great news!

kinema_tallThe Wanstead Kinema – our very own pop-up cinema – is returning for a Christmas special. And even better news is that it will be showing the world’s favourite festive film, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Just like the first outing of the Wanstead Kinema in the summer, this should be an atmospheric and memorable event. UNLIKE the first outing, this will be held indoors, so there is no chance of getting soaked again.

It’s a one-off screening at 7.30pm on Sunday 22 December. It will be held at Grove Hall on Grosvenor Road, thanks to the generous hosting of the Treehouse After School club. Drinks and refreshments will be available.

Tickets are £5 each, and are limited in numbers. You can buy them now only via this website: Buy your tickets now, get your babysitter booked, get your wings down from the loft.