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Sofa so good

Cosy up on a sofa with wine, cake and G&T flavoured ice cream: take a trip to the cinema with all the home comforts

No need to look all wistful when pals up in Bristol or London talk about a visit to their local cinema, telling how they can sink back in a comfy sofa and knock back the booze while they watch a movie – at last, the sofas in cinemas phenomenon has reached south Somerset. It’s not just about the sofas (or the booze) either, the programme at Westland’s new Screenings at the Ballroom is eclectic. With award-winning films, live and encore theatre, dance and music from the Old Vic, National Theatre and Royal Opera House and internationally, talks, documentaries and more, Yeovil’s (almost) got itself an art house cinema.

The Ballroom in question is the main auditorium in the newly refurbed Westlands centre. After a mahoosive facelift, the famous Yeovil helicopter company’s old social club is now run by The Octagon Theatre as an all singing, all dancing, Darcey-Bussell-opened venue for various concerts, events – and films.

You could meet friends or just grab a drink in the vast bar but no need to hang around here – though the chairs are rather cool – your sofa awaits…

screenings in the ballroom

Oh, don’t forget your chocs, homemade cake or gin and tonic ice cream (or all three).

cakes under glass domes

And in you go.  Two-seater sofas and side-by-side tub chairs are numbered – no dithering over where to sit – and most have handy little side tables for your drinks and stuff. The screen’s not massive but it all goes to create a sort of cinema club atmosphere. Sound quality is great. There’s wifi if you want to Google a famous actor to see if they’re married (oops…is that just me?).

sofas at the cinema

We went to see award-winning production of The Railway Children, which was filmed at St Pancras Station and I’d say that watching it here was the next best thing. The Ballroom’s a big space and it did get a teensy bit parky in there. Maybe they’ll follow the lead of other cinemas with sofas and hand out snuggly blankets too – until then, wear a jumper.

You can see the full programme here but I’ve got my eye on: The Dark Tower (Fri 29 Sept),  the encore screening of the Old Vic’s production of The Crucible with Richard Armitage (Mon 2 Oct), the NT live encore screening of The Audience with Helen Mirren (Mon 16 Oct), one for the kids Japanese Anime This Corner of the World (Sun 15 Oct), on court drama Borg v McEnroe, the story of the rival’s duel at 1980s Wimbledon (Sun 22 Oct), new film out Daphne (Mon 23 Oct) and to scare myself silly Nosferatu with live music from the Somerset Brides of Dracula (Tues 31 Oct). Tickets are priced per performance and you can buy online. Oh and there’s lots of free parking.

Screenings at the Ballroom, Westlands Entertainment Venue, Westbourne Close, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 2DD. Tel 01935 422884.

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