They are innovative, exciting, creative and each new one naturally has to outshine the last.
Events at Peckhamplex have always been my secret pleasure. I nearly have a nervous breakdown anticipating them: Will anybody buy tickets? Will the celebs get there in time? Will it be glamorous? Will the audience be a Radio Silence one or will they ask impossible questions back-to-back.
It’s the nature of the beast!
At The Plex we have had some fabulous events which have challenged the West End for pizzazz and vitality. And once, nothing to do with anything, we’ve had to drag people off the streets.
Recently, in the same week, we had an event with a director and a creator of the film’s subject with us for a Q&A. It was packed to the rafters and went on for much longer than planned. Two days later we had another event, for just as entertaining a film, where we had the leading actor to present the show beforehand and do a Q&A afterwards, and only 14 people turned up. They loved it but that’s not quite what we’d planned.
We quite often get major stars to come and talk about their film to our audiences. One memorable night the author of the best-selling Biafran War book Half A Yellow Sun, the elegant Chimamanda Adiche Ngozi, came with the film’s director, Biyi Bandele, to do a Q&A. Word got out that she often came straight from Heathrow airport to Peckham to have her hair braided. The cinema was chock-a-block and the questions and vibes were wonderful, especially about hair-styling. She said it was her best gig yet …. so much more fun than the same she’d done in Hampstead.
More recently we had a riotous evening for the comedy SuperBob when local filmmaker Jon Drever, plus the stars of the film Brett Goldstein and TV superstar Catherine Tate, arrived with the massively popular comedienne and presenter Katherine Ryan who said she’d moderate the event for us. Bliss!
We had another sell-out event for London Road, the film about the prostitutes murdered in Ipswich in 2006. The director Rufus Norris, who is also the director of the National Theatre, plus the two leads, our local superstar Olivia Colman and Paul Thornley, came. As we filed out of the auditorium, there was a mob of eager people lining up to see films like Jurassic World and Mad Max, but all waiting to get a selfie with Olivia.
On another occasion we had a special appearance from Danny Dyer to present his film Assassin, the night a BIG action film also opened. A group of female fans arrived but they were too young to see his film, which had a 15 certification, so we had to do the Q&A BEFORE the film!
You just never can tell. Full house or echoing walls? Events are a world unto themselves however much you promote them and I love organising them with the team at Pecky. We love film and we love bringing new, exciting experiences to our diverse and growing audiences. All the rest of you have to do is to attend!
Marianne Gray is a director at Peckhamplex who organises the events and writes the weekly Newsletter.