Pop Up Cinema Live Project

Project Leaders: Harriet Harris, Graeme Brooker, Beth Hughes, Elke Sigg

Number of participants: 20

Duration: 5 days


Students from across the RCA are invited to participate in a pop-up cinema construction workshop for the refugees of Calais: where 50% of the residents are children or young adults. The pop up-cinema (PUC) will be match funded by an architecture practice and Starling Cinema. The construction will take place at the RCA and the PUC will be made from a mix of new and up-cycled materials and be deployable/removable in a maximum of 20 minutes to avoid being damaged during camp clearances. The PUC will then become an active, lasting cultural and creative legacy for the camp, under the custodial management of Starling Cinema.


Day one will involve a one-day ‘hackathon’ (design intensive) where students will compete in teams for their design to be chosen. The reviews will take place in the evening, and construction will begin in earnest on day 02 (Tuesday).  Materials needed for the structure will be purchased in advance and stipulated in the brief given to students. All students will have the opportunity to make the cinema, thereby learning highly transferable skills including basic construction, set design, textiles and lighting. The PUC will be build on an old caravan chassis, making it easy to move once completed The week will conclude with a PUC ‘construction movie’ premiere: featuring a filmic narrative of the students making the cinema on the Friday evening. All RCA students will be invited to attend and popcorn and beer will be served. The following week, Starling Cinema will take the PUC to Calais, where it will serve as a youth enterprise project and community resource indefinitely.