We will be closed for a private event from 7pm on Sat 20th July

Who are we?

We’re a totally independent, crowd-funded community cinema on Chatsworth Road in Hackney.

Co-founders Dee & Ash started work on the project in 2015, and since then we’ve grown to a team of about 25 - including our brilliant cinema team who work their magic for guests every day, and four busy bees in the office!
Between us we keep the doors open all day everyday from 10am til late.

With two beautiful screens and a stunning bar, we’re passionate about great films, delicious refreshments and genuine service, and want a trip to The Castle to be remarkable for all three.

Contact us!

What are we all about?

When we did our first test screenings in December 2016 we had one screen, we were only open during the evening, and we didn’t even have a proper coffee machine! A lot has changed since then…

We built a second screen!
We developed our cafe (including a proper coffee machine) and started to open all day!
We built a kitchen space!

Once things were up and running, we were able to focus on the really important stuff like our fight against the climate crisis.
Did you know we were one of the first places not to charge extra for oat milk?!

We’re super proud of our locally sourced & vegan focused bar offering. Special shout out to Dark Arts for their ingenious reusable packaging!

We’ve always wanted to make sure the cinema is accessible to everyone, and we’re particularly proud of our:
accessible screenings
low-cost self-certifying concession membership
£5 member tickets
free kids screenings through IntoFilm
affordable off-peak private hire slots

We work hard to recruit across a wide range of platforms including Hackney Works, and our staff training programme has a strong focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. This includes Dementia-friendly & Autism-awareness training, as well as deaf/hard of hearing awareness and basic BSL training.

Oh and one last thing! We made the decision not to have adverts before our films. Instead we just have 10 minutes of homemade slides & film trailers. We chose to do this because we want to have a say in which companies we stand behind and advertise, AND of course we want your viewing experience to be as enjoyable and free from car adverts as possible.

Where are we headed?

We’ve developed six Community Goals:
Improve access for disabled guests
Develop underserved audiences
Support and enhance education locally
Nurture a diverse team
Maintain an inclusive and thought-provoking programme for all
Champion local suppliers & vegan options as part of our fight against the climate crisis

We’re excited to announce that we’re looking to open cinema number two!
We’re especially excited by the idea of bringing a cinema to the wonderful people of Waltham Forest.
As a small team it’s hard for us to be on the location hunt everyday, so we’d love your help.
Maybe you live in Leytonstone or Walthamstow and you know about the perfect venue waiting to be brought to life…
Please get in touch and help us bring good films & good vibes to your neighbourhood!

The history of The Castle...

The Castle Cinema has seen numerous changes, and been many things to many people, since it was first built more than 100 years ago...


The Castle Electric Theatre opened on 8th September 1913 as an independent single-screen cinema. Total seating was provided for 619 in stalls and a small balcony area.

It ran until 1958 when it was turned into a bingo hall, then a warehouse and most recently a snooker hall. Over time it had become pretty dilapidated, but many of its original features remained, hidden from view.

A few years ago Eat17 took it on, turning the ground floor into a convenience store, and in 2015 Dee & Ash were introduced to them. Visiting the vacant first floor, they felt it was just too special to be left empty - with it’s ornate plasterwork, proscenium arch and curved ceiling, this beautiful picture palace is rich with history.

With years of experience running two successful pop-up cinema events - Hot Tub Cinema & Pillow Cinema - Dee & Ash were confident they'd be able to do the necessary work, but they needed to know whether there was support to bring the project to life.

So in March 2016 they launched a Kickstarter campaign and told everyone they could - they emailed all their past guests, put flyers in thousands of local letterboxes, got all the local press involved, talked to anyone who would listen, and did some free screenings in the space to give everyone the chance to get excited with us...

...and the result was overwhelming. Over 650 people raised 120% of the target, triggering the latest chapter of The Castle Cinema!

A special thank you to those who got involved with the Kickstarter, to those who shouted about us, to those who got stuck in and to those who fed Dee & Ash when they forgot to feed themselves. Together we've built something really special.

If you'd like to support our six community goals and ongoing development, sign up to our membership scheme now!

Our curators

Our curators regularly schedule a brilliant line-up of diverse films and events

They include Cine-real and Pitchblack Playback

We host a number of brilliant film festivals too… check out the calendar for full listings!