By Mark Barnett
London’s Favourite Cinema
There are not many businesses on Rye Lane that can claim to have stood the test of time what with recession, austerity and gentrification, but Peckhamplex, has now been open for business on the high street for the last 25 years.
Peckhamplex is a 6 screen, 1,500 seater cinema with 3D facilities and is on the site of a former Sainsbury’s. Situated halfway up Rye Lane the cinema sits on the ground floor of a former multi-story car park which has been converted into a multi-purpose space which is home to Bold Tendencies Art Gallery, Frank’s Rooftop Bar and Peckham Levels, a community work space project.
Since opening in September 1994 more than 5 million people have gone to see a film at Peckhamplex over the past 25 years. That’s well over half the population of London. Visitors have travelled from as far afield as Wembley, Croydon and Richmond to watch a film in Peckham this is probably helped in no small measure by the fact that the price of admission is just £4.99 for everyone all the time.
“We are well aware that our ticket price is what brings people in, which is why we haven’t increased it for the last 10 years,” Simone Brown, Director of the Peckhamplex.
“Once here, we aim to provide a different experience to the usual multiplex or art house venues, combining the best of both. Our staff know the regular customers and notice new ones.”
The cinema is also a keen supporter of the local community by working with independent film makers, schools, charities and community projects and sponsoring the Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival, Young Film Makers Competition, The Peckham Festival and Pexmas Festival. They use local suppliers and employ local people and were awarded a Southwark Civic Award for their contribution to the local community in 2016. They have also been awarded the best cinema award by London Time Out every year since 2014. Additionally Peckhamplex holds weekly screenings for parents with babies, subtitled performances for the hard of hearing and monthly autism-friendly screenings.
In its time Peckhamplex has played host to such luminaries as film director Ken Loach, EastEnders actor Danny Dyer, comedian Catherine Tate, Hollywood star Idris Elba, author Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie and Oscar winner Olivia Colman.