A symphony orchestra, a Christmas card shop, a pop-up cinema - Hitchin’s versatile parish church continues to be an historic hub

Fritz Lang's Metropolis will be screened at Hitchin's St Mary's Church to raise funds to preserve th

Fritz Lang's Metropolis will be screened at Hitchin's St Mary's Church to raise funds to preserve the historic building - Credit: Archant

You can’t deny that Hitchin’s St Mary’s Church is a versatile venue – as well as serving as the town’s spiritual hub it’s currently doubling up as a charity Christmas card shop, at the weekend it staged an orchestral concert and this weekend it will be transformed into a cinema.

The team raising funds for continuing restoration work at the town centre landmark will be presenting Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi epic Metropolis, enhanced by a live organ accompaniment by virtuoso Donald McKenzie on Saturday night.

Nick Hunter of Ickleford-based Sundown Screens and Tim Ray of Hitchin Films have provided expert assistance to the church team, and the screening – supported by insurance giant LV= which has offices in the town – will start at 7.30pm with wine being served from 7pm.

Tickets are £12 each and are available from the Hitchin Initiative offices in Churchyard and from David’s Bookshop in Letchworth’s Eastcheap, as well as online through www.hitchin.films.co.uk.

Metropolis follows on from a debut cinema screening at the church of Phantom of the Opera earlier this year, which contributed £2,500 to church coffers.

Rachel Bagenal, who has helped put the night together, said: “Donald McKenzie accompanied Phantom without reading from a score, what he did play was dramatic, often moving and sometimes even amusing. His timing was perfect.

“He took us on an exhilarating roller coaster ride and I am really looking forward to hearing him again. The setting, the film and the music all combined to make a truly dramatic and memorable evening.”

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A large, framed Metropolis poster provided by Kendal Framing of Letchworth will be raffled on the night.

Rachel said: “We are thinking of asking our audience to help us choose the next film.

“Our ideas include Buster Keaton’s The General, Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last or Robin Hood.

“Or we could show an evening of shorter films, including Chaplin, and Laurel and Hardy. Donald is happy to accompany any silent film we suggest!”

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