The New Pub-Cinema Takes on Media City

Historic pub, The Black Lion, home to Salford film studio Future Artists now houses its very on independent arts cinema.

The pub’s function venue, the John Cooper Clarke Theatre, (christened after its patron and muse) is now home to a full HD cinema and 5.1 surround sound system setup.

Since its re-birth in Novemeber 2011, The Black Lion has been putting on fringe and indie theatre and screening independent documentaries and features, including Bombay Beach, the astonishing sell-out Bill Cunningham New York  as well as screenings of popular classics such as The Italian Job.

Now the theatre has become a movie theatre, modeled on Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope venue in San Francisco, with drinks and quality food served downstairs to fund the art companies who use the venue upstairs. Future Artists aim to make their cinema a big success for the Salford community, while remaining a top venue for indie theatre.

“We’re the real media city,” Mark Ashmore, director of Future Artists, says cheekily. “We’re a family pub with a long history in local music and literature. Jenny and myself want to carry on the tradition by updating it with a cinema. Plus our landlord Barry is a proud Salfordian.”

Cinema directors Jenny Inchbald and Mark Ashmore are chuffed to have finally achieved a dream of theirs – to make art and indie film accessible in the North West. A ‘Future Artists Film Club’ community exists on Facebook and is looking to get more film lovers to join in.

The Black Lion located at the tip of Salford on Chapel Street, around the corner from the University of Salford and Manchester city centre – although its owners Barry Phillips, Mark Ashmore and Jenny Inchbald insist it is a Salford venue – designed to bring independent cinema to the city of Salford. 

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