Punchdrunk’s Encino Cinema

Any production by the immersive theatre company Punchdrunk is worth attending and their latest, The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable, is no exception. Set in the fictional Temple Studios in 1960s Los Angeles, its aim is to ‘explore the darkness of the Hollywood dream.’ People who have seen it multiple times have said that each time is a different experience.

The production’s run, in a warehouse next to Paddington station, has just been extended until 29th June and it’s well worth catching. There is now also a slightly different way to experience the production as Punchdrunk are offering screenings at the Encino Theater Cinema, which is part of The Drowned Man set. So far so meta except that seeing a film at the Encino Theater Cinema is a must for any jaded cinema-goer. We were running late for a screening of Day of the Locust and were promptly divested of handbags and coats and strictly told to use the toilet as there would not be another opportunity. All of this is strangely liberating, especially for anyone used to visiting a multiplex crowded with teenagers, where watching the film can often feel like a backdrop to talking and eating.

We were then taken in a creaky lift up to the tiny, 36 seater cinema itself and an usherette dressed in candy pink led us by the hand to our seats. It’s an incredibly intimate way to watch a film, not least during the intermission when the usherette hands out boxes of popcorn and you are pretty much compelled to discuss the film with your neighbour. The whirring of the 16mm projector also reminds you how detached cinema-going normally is.

Tickets for the next two events at the cinema have already sold out but there are still some available for screenings of Orson Welles’ 1958 crime thriller Touch of Evil and later, a 1947 film adaptation of Woyzeck, the play which inspired The Drowned Man. The dates for these two screenings have yet to be confirmed – so tickets aren’t yet on sale, but we suggest you register on the Cinema’s website now to be among the first in the queue. 

Punchdrunk's film screenings, shown as part of The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable
Dates to be confirmed. Check website and register to be alerted of dates
Encino Theater, Temple Studios, 31 London Street, Paddington, W2 1DJ
From £25
020 7452 3000
— Alex Peake-Tomkinson
9th April 2014