Front entrance to the Cube
|Town or city||Bristol|
The Cube Microplex is a cinema and event venue in central Bristol, which operates as a non-profit volunteer-run cooperative. Since opening in 1998 it has hosted artistic and cultural events including films and music performances as well as providing a focal point for the local artistic community. The building includes a 108-seat theatre/cinema as well as a bar serving local and ethical products.
The wooden theatre at the heart of the Cube was adapted from a workshop by volunteers for an Amateur Dramatics group in 1964. The building served as an art centre in the 1970s and a Second Run Cinema in the 80s.
The Cube opened its doors in its present form in October 1998 after about a six month lead in period during which funding, equipment, business contracts and business plan were worked on. The team of four who started the Cube consisted of film maker/writer Jack Davies, screenwriter and film festival activist Julian Holman, and two stilt-walkers: Kevin Dennis and Graeme Hogg. Hogg (known as Hogge) and Dennis had been running an underground (as in mostly illegal and unlicenced) film screening event called Club Rombus for two years and this experience provided the foundation of what the Cube was to become. After acquiring a lease to the building, this small group managed to organise and recruit further volunteers.
In July 2001 a serious fire originating in the New Mayflower kitchen destroyed most of the internal storeys and timber of 4 and 5 King Square and although the Cube itself only sustained minor odour and smoke stain damage, its entranceway was effectively destroyed meaning it was cut off from use by the general public.
After extensive rebuilding work, the Cube re-opened in August 2002.
The Cube's programme varies from night to night, including films, live music, burlesque, art exhibitions, performance art and guest speakers. The film screenings include general and limited release mainstream films, art-house, cult films and work by local film makers. It offers special film screenings for mothers and babies. Regular nights have included a movieoke evening, in which audience members act out their chosen film scenes on stage as they are played on the big screen. Weekends often feature live music and performances. The building is also periodically hired to third parties to put on their own events. The Cube has played hosts to seasons and festivals, including the Venn Festival, Ladyfest Bristol, Bristol Radical History Group, Ausform Platform of Performance and Independent Heroine festivals.
Its anti-corporate ethos led to projects such as Kate Rich and Kayle Brandon's Cube-Cola, based on an open source cola recipe, and Feral Trade which supplies various products to its bar using only personal social networks, including fair trade coffee from a farming cooperative in El Salvador. It has its own in-house improvising orchestra, the Orchestra Cube.
The Cube volunteers have a history of setting up temporary cinemas in exotic locations, including a tin mine in Cornwall. In March 2010, a group travelled to the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake to stage an open-air cinema showing mainstream and specially-created films to children.
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