Kendal Brewery Arts Centre Film Hub North catch up with Chris Ashton from the Kendal Brewery Arts Centre


Brewery Arts Centre Cinema in Kendal

About the Brewery..

The Brewery Arts Centre Cinema brings you the latest big-screen blockbuster releases with a mix of specialised and classic films from around the world. Our two full-time cinema screens (along with our theatre which doubles as a cinema for half the year), offer our audiences a programme of the latest in mainstream film with something to suit every taste. Films and times are added each Monday for the following Friday to Thursday. All our screens have 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound for the ultimate cinema experience.

Until being bought by the Lake District Theatre Trust Limited in 1970, the building operated as fully functioning brewery for over 200 years, and when the Vaux Brewery relocated to Sunderland, work started on converting the Grade III Listed building into a modern arts centre. On 10 May, 1972, the Brewery Arts and Community Centre opened its doors to the public, at that time it consisting only of a small theatre and two other rooms. Fast forward over 40 years, and after several extensions and transformative upgrades, we have a 250 seat theatre, a 350 seat music & events venue, two exhibition spaces, a creative physical performance studio, art and crafts workshops, darkroom and screen printing facilities, playgroup and meeting rooms, fully licensed restaurant, and three cafes and bars.

Our two dedicated cinema screens opened in May 2000 and operate year round, showing a mix of the latest mainstream and specialist titles. During the summer months and school holidays, our theatre operates as a third cinema screen - and where funding allows, we operate a small 25 seat cinema screen (screening from Blu-ray/DVD) in our unique and informal Warehouse screen. We are also the main host venue to the largest festival of mountaineering films in the world (Kendal Mountain Festival), and to the major Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

Our specialist film programme, funded by the BFI FHN, has become a vital part of the film offer here at the Brewery and, over the past several years has attracted a devoted audience of cinema-goers looking for films outside of the mainstream. Following a wide-spread audience survey, carried out in 2015, and based on customer feedback, we are moving our specialist film programme out of our avant-garde ‘warehouse’ 25-seat screen, and in to our main cinema space. This will incorporate specialist film more into our main programme, developing an audience cross-over and hopefully encouraging mainstream audiences to see something that they wouldn’t normally experience at the cinema.

The Brewery Cinema strives to bring you as many titles as possible on their release dates - and hope cinema-goers are willing to bear with us when the film release schedule has more titles than we can accommodate. If you would like to know more about the film schedule, please call our Box Office team or email Film Coordinator Chris Ashton -

The Brewery Cinema is generously supported by Film Hub North, led by Showroom Workstation. Proud to be part of the BFI Film Audience Network.

Meet the Programmer...

Our film programmer Chris Ashton has worked at The Brewery for more than 14 years in a variety of roles such as Cinema Projectionist and Box Office Assistant. He has been the man in charge of choosing the movies you watch for the last five years:

What does a typical day in your job involve?

Monday is my busiest day, as it involves looking at the weekend ís admissions and deciding which films to keep or drop. Other tasks include renegotiating contracts with film distributors in London, arranging film delivery and uploading films to the box office system and website. It ís a very busy day, but I love the buzz of it!

What gives you most satisfaction from your role?

I really enjoy the challenges of matching customer demand and film distributor strictures, with the limited number of screens we have here at the Brewery. It ís not always easy, but very rewarding when we get it right!

What type of films do you enjoy?

I grew up watching a lot of fantasy and Anime & Manga films, which has stayed with me all my life. As well as Japanese, I also have a keen interest in European cinema, especially French films, which stemmed from my time living in French ski resorts. I also love a good action film and The Dark Knight is one of the best!

What can we expect from the Brewery cinema over the next 12 months?

A fantastic mix of mainstream and specialist films. We hope to screen a lot of the mainstream titles on their international release date but, if not, they will definitely feature somewhere in the upcoming programme, so check the website and get you diaries out!

Discuss on the member's forum