Curzon Cinema, Clevedon
Courtesy of Curzon Clevedon

Local Voices: Susannah Shaw Shaw, CEO of Curzon Cinema

Susannah talks about her plans and passion for this unique cinema's future

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Susannah Shaw

Susannah Shaw has been involved with film since she was at art college in the early ‘70s. Since then she's worked at the BBC and Aardman, which lead her to found the Bristol Animation School at UWE, and write a course that would bridge the gap between degree and industry. Her Stop Motion – Craft Skills for Model Animation, became a 'bible' around animation courses, stretched to three editions, and was translated into Portuguese and Chinese. Most recently, she has turned to the cinema in her home town of Clevedon, where she was offered her dream job of running the Curzon.

October 24th, 2019

What do you do for the Curzon Cinema?

As CEO it’s my role to look towards the future to ensure sustainability for this unique place, so from the start I focussed on creating special events at the cinema to draw in new audiences. I also make sure that I’m on as many committees in the town as possible and have developed active partnerships with organisations like the Clevedon Pier Trust, the Marine Lake; Clevedon BID and Coastal Communities team – and make links in Bristol and wider Somerset wherever possible; with the Watershed, Arnolfini etc. All of these connections bring the Curzon name to a wider audience.

Curzon Cinema, Clevedon Courtesy of Curzon Clevedon
Curzon Cinema, Clevedon

What makes the Curzon Cinema so special?

The cinema is in an extraordinary building – built in the 1920s, over the original 1912 cinema, it was built to impress. The ornate tin panelling that covers the auditorium is now the most complete example known to exist in the country. But visitors comment most on the warm welcome, from FOH staff and volunteers, the variety of films on our single screen - ranging from mainstream to arthouse, to foreign language - live streamings of opera, exhibition and theatre, as well as live comedy and music. With a lovely bar and an incredible collection of vintage projectors, plus a working model of the Titanic… it’s a totally different cinema experience!

Curzon Cinema Clevedon Courtesy of Curzon Clevedon
Curzon Cinema Clevedon

What are the must-do activities for first-time visitors to Clevedon?

Start with a delicious breakfast at Murrays, then take in the shops on Hill Road; walk through Alexandra Park to Midgely Green and Store for the Curious, head towards the beach, but not before a quick nose in Clevedon’s Community Bookshop. If you have the energy - a walk along the seafront to Poet’s Walk, Wains Hill and the Pill. Sit and stare over the marshes, then wander back for lunch at No. 5 the Beach – or if you prefer, a pint at The Salthouse – plenty of room for children to run around outside. I haven’t even mentioned Clevedon Pier – definitely the loveliest in England. If it’s raining, a matinee at the Curzon is perfect, or if it’s warm and sunny, why not try a swim at Ladye Bay, or for a safer option, the tidal Marine Lake… then a final drink at the Fallen Tree Micropub.

Clevedon Pier Courtesy of Clevedon Pier
Clevedon Pier

Can you describe Clevedon in three words?

Elegant, poetic, refreshing.  

What can we look forward to at the Curzon in months to come?

We’re currently holding a fundraising campaign to restore our leaking roof, so there is an opportunity before Christmas for people to come and leave a message on our new roof tiles… destined to be hidden in the rafters for another 100 years, before being revealed to our descendants! And from November, the lovely folk at the Twisted Oak Brewery are providing us with our own brand of beer: Leaky Roof. Oh yes.

At the end of October we have our very own season of Folk Horror, teaming up with Bristol’s Festival of Ideas to show a restoration of the 1920s classic German film Der Golem with live music from Harmonieband. We’re also showing The Wickerman and M.R.James’ spine-chilling Whistle and I’ll Come to You.

And as Christmas draws nearer – we’re planning a veritable cornucopia of evergreen films for every generation: Love Actually, Gremlins, Elf….and maybe something more classic than that!

Aardman Animations have been a tremendous support, as patrons of the Curzon, for our fundraising campaign – and a 'Wallace & Gromit-athon' is planned for early November.

Visit Curzon Cinema's website to find out more and, if you haven’t already, sign up for their newsletter.

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