Following its very successful debut season in 2017, the Star & Mouse “trinket cinema” is back, bringing film screenings underneath the stars at fabulous venues in and around Cambridge at weekends from May through to September. This is a very different experience to the one you’ll get at your local multiplex!
The inspiration for The Star & Mouse Picture Show, owned by Eleanor Lyons and Christian Juschck, came from the way they were already spending time with their friends … evenings of fairy lights, food, fire pits and fancy dress in their garden with their old projector rigged up to screen a movie onto a bed sheet. Eleanor loves to create a magical world, just as her Dad did for her when she was growing up in a caravan while the family built their house. Eleanor and Christian’s creativity is boundless – they are bursting with ideas as they bring us the feeling and the enchantment of those evenings with their friends, just scaled up (and they have a large inflatable screen now!)
The season starts this May Bank Holiday (4-6 May) with a Fantasy and Fairytale Weekend at Manor Farm Bourn. Other venues this year include Madingley Hall, The Doubletree Hilton and The Cambridge American Cemetery. Star & Mouse will be screening a mix of new films and classics that people want to see again and again. Unbelievably, this year it’s the 40th anniversary of “Grease”, so on 29 July you can reconnect with Sandy and Danny at Manor Farm Bourn, which will be set up as a drive in movie theatre. Another highlight will be the River Cam Film Festival (16-19 August) for which Star & Mouse have their own private venue, a little island in The Cam – you get there by punt!
Whatever you book for, make sure you get there early as the film, screened at nightfall, is just part of the evening. There’s always plenty of live entertainment, themed to the film. Catering will be taken care of by popular local food trucks this year and the eco-friendly bar will keep you refreshed. They’re using proper wine glasses, napkins and plates while cups will be made of biodegradable plant based plastics. As darkness falls, park yourself in a deckchair, put on your wireless headphones, relax and enjoy the screening.
Once autumn sets in, Star & Mouse move indoors to the magnificent Saloon Room at Madingley Hall, which they transform into an indoor cinema, custom decorated and lit, with big wing chairs for seating. There’ll be a Halloween film show and in December, they’ll screen Christmas films. Eleanor and Christian really do go to great lengths to create a very special experience. “Last December, we showed “Narnia” in an old barn,” Eleanor tells me. “We transformed it into a magical pine forest and it took us 72 hours! But it was worth it to see the wonder on people’s faces when they walked in.”
So let’s keep our fingers crossed for balmy summer nights! For full details of this season’s programme, to read more of Eleanor and Christian’s story and to book tickets in advance (strongly recommended), just check out the Star & Mouse website.