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Ahoy! Floating theatres take to the water

A number of open-air floating cinemas are under development in Europe and North America, following the success of Latvia's recent Laiva ('Boat') festival

By IQ on 25 Aug 2020

Openaire will bring the float-in cinema concept to Regent's Canal in London

Openaire will bring the float-in cinema concept to Regent's Canal in London


image © Luminaire Events

On the back of the first-ever float-in music festival, cinemas are getting in on the aquatic entertainment action, with new floating movie theatres opening up in the UK, Italy, Israel, Canada and the US in the coming weeks.

In Britain, floating film experiences which place moviegoers in socially distanced rowing boats are planned for cities including London, Birmingham and Liverpool, screening a mix of new films and old favourites, while an amphibious theatre under construction in Rome’s EUR district plans to show Italian classics, along with the Italian premiere of stop-motion movie Missing Link.

“During lockdown, when we dreaming of being outdoors, we got a lot of calls from people who wanted us to set up a drive-in,” says creator Gianluca Giannelli. “But we didn’t like the idea of people going from being locked down in their living rooms to being locked down in their cars at a time when nature was taking over. So we thought of a natural space to show movies within the city.”

“We didn’t like the idea of people going from being locked down in their living rooms to being locked down in their cars”

The London cinema, moored on the Regent’s Canal in Merchant Square in Paddington, will feature 16 boats providing seating for up to 128 people. Planned films include Toy StoryThe Lion King and musicals Rocketman and The Greatest Showman.

Another, on Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park lake, opened for a test screening on 20 August, with around 200 people sitting in 70 pedal and rowing boats to watch the film Paddington 2.

“It was an amazing evening. It’s great to see a cinema corona-style,” attendee Galia Resnick told Reuters. “We had an amazing time. The whole family enjoyed it. Good move, Tel Aviv.”

Floating cinemas will also sail into Miami, New York, Vancouver and Houston, Texas, later this summer.

Unlike the cinema events, guests were able to bring their own boats to Laiva, the Latvian festival that pioneered the floating music festival concept earlier this month.

Latvia paves the way for float-in music festivals


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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