Grease hits the big screen in Grays
Love Grays lit up the big screen last Friday (22nd September) for an open air screening of the musical classic Grease!
Preparations for the event began many months ago in a meeting room at Thameside Theatre, where the local businesses of Love Grays thought the town centre would benefit from an evening of family fun, bringing communities together to enjoy the big screen in their own town. With the idea set in place, the wheels started turning and we were burning rubber in no time!
The Love Grays team set to work organising the event, but were stuck which what movie to show... So we decided to give the public the choice! Taking to social media, we posed the question Grease? Or Hairspray? - both of course featuring John Travolta - and with a week's worth of voting, the decision was made, then it was greased lightnin'!
With the decision made and a date in mind, we began shouting from the rooftops that we planned on showing Grease on the big screen in everybody's own Grays town centre! And the reaction from the public was spectacular, with Grays residents and families, friends, and their aunties all taking to Facebook to let us know they were coming! - We were just praying that some good weather would hold out for the big night...
Thankfully, on the day of the event we were amazed by beautiful sunshine, and the weather was well tempered into the afternoon setting the mood for a great evening full of sing-a-long and laughter, lit by the glow of the 24 foot inflatable screen provided by the Cambridge Film Trust.
Our Love Grays team we're on site for when Jack and George from Cambridge Film Trust pulled up in their little van, and marvelled when they disassembled the Tetris like configuration in the back! Managing to squeeze in a 24 foot inflatable screen, a 2 foot square projector, two cinema grade speakers with tripods, accompanying sound equipment, a gazebo to cover it all, and enough cables to cover the entire Rydell High football pitch! Speaking of Rydell, remember kids "If you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter!" in the words of Principal McGee.
But of course Jack and George were professionals, and had the screen up and equipment ready in no time. Just enough time in fact to give passers by a hint as to what would be going on later, with sound tests playing some of the classic tunes from the movie, such as 'We Go Together' and 'You're The One That I Want'
All that we needed now was the people! And the Grays community didn't disappoint, coming together in droves to watch the movie musical at the South Essex College amphitheatre, with over 160 people attending, some bringing cushions, blankets, picnics, and even their dogs to the family friendly viewing.
Family members of all ages arrived before the screening at 7PM to claim their place in the spacious amphitheatre, stocking up on soft drinks & popcorn from Waves Cafe - who had set themselves up outside for the event - not forgetting to leave room for the hot dogs and burgers served all evening 🍔 🌭
Before the main attraction began however, we were treated to a screening of a short film from the theatrical talents at Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions, starring in the debut of 'Murder on the Dancefloor' a comedic play on 1930's American gangsters, in which (Spoiler) their very own Neil Woodbridge gets killed off! 😱 You can view the short film for yourself by clicking here.
With the crowd warmed up, it was time for the main event. The projector started rolling - figuratively speaking - and all across the amphitheatre you could hear the cracking of drink cans and the popping of popcorn bags... Ahh, bliss.
It's didn't remain quiet for long though, as the first few songs burst onto the screen the crowd quickly started singing along, some even decided to start dancing. But as they say, time fly's when you're having fun, and the movie played out to the captivated audience until the very end, prompting the public to call for more events in the future!
Princes Trust Team Leader and Grays in Bloom winner Tom Flynn had this to say on Facebook following the event:
"Well Done Love Grays, that was a great evening, loads of people, great film can’t wait for the next one"
I'm sure Mr Flynn, a self-confessed Grease fan, won't mind me saying that he was one of the many viewers enthusiastically singing along to every word during the outdoor screening.
Mr Flynn however wasn't the only person to voice their appreciation, with members of the public repeatedly asking whether we had move movie screenings planned for the future, some even had suggestions as to what we could show, including Dirty Dancing, The Goonies, Jurassic Park, and Back to The Future.
With the huge success of the first ever Outdoor Cinema in Grays, how could we not consider organising another? Watch this space!
The free event was a result of a dedicated team of local businesses working with the community to identify ways in which the people of Grays can come together
to celebrate their town, and help to build on the strong community bonds in Grays.
This event was funded by Love Grays
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