Photo: Alice Denny 

About the enchanted cinema @ THE BENBOW ARTS SPACE, ST. LEONARDS


The Enchanted Cinema are BACK at Bright Foundation! And celebrating the launch of a very special new venue celebrating the history of cinema in St. Leonards. 


The Benbow Arts Space is a new creative learning hub dedicated to the art of filmmaking located in the heart of St Leonards-on-Sea.

Young people can discover their passion for filmmaking, develop skills and begin their journey into the film industry. The venue includes an Early Cinema Exhibition alongside workshop and event spaces.

To celebrate our launch we are opening our doors for everyone to come and explore!

There is no need to book our Open House Weekends, simply drop in.


Musical workshop and screening
Thursday 30 or Friday 31 May 2024
10:30am-12.30pm or 2:00pm-4:00pm
Benbow Arts Space, 2 London Road, St Leonards-on-Sea
Tickets £10 adults / £5 children + booking fee (or £5 adults / £3 children for those on state benefits) 

Join The Enchanted Cinema for this delightful double-bill.  Using your hands, your voice & instruments including xylophones, join the “FX Crew” to create sound FX to scenes from My Neighbour Totoro and to bring to life Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.

Sound effects include a creaking porch, feet jumping through the snow, a river, magical chimes for a giant tree, a tinkling bell for Totoro’s whiskers, the roars, and eyeballs of Sendak’s Wild Things and much more. The grown-ups will be asked to help too.

Every child gets a chance to be involved if they choose to, with older kids rising to the challenge of playing the xylophone or narrating the Wild Things animation live and younger ones delighting in the “cicada” shakers or “tree-frog” guiros.

With an inclusive and light-hearted atmosphere throughout, each show also features a live musical score by Kieron and Gareth, aka The Enchanted Cinema.

After the show take a tour of the Benbow Arts Space, try your hand at stop-frame animation; create a zoetrope; and design a magic lantern slide to become part of our community artwork.

Part of the Benbow Arts Space Open House.


The Xylophone Orchestra –  Join Gareth on stage to work on the scores including playing the Harp from Harris! (age 8+)
The Water Choir – 3-4 children use voices on mic to re-create crashing sea, wind in trees and other elemental textures.
The Birds – use bird whistles and recorders to mimic the birds of lake, river and sea.
The FX Crew – audience members are given repurposed/ recycled and world music instruments to create foley FX cues to the animated films
e.g. guiros = frogs
recycled packaging= boat sails
The Wind Gong = mysterious atmospheres
recycled bamboo canes = forest spirits & magical tree chimes


Does every child get to do something?

If they want to – yes! Just make sure we know if you need  a sound FX/ instrument by raising your hand. 

My child might not want to join in.

No problem at all! Many children like to sit back and watch or join in with bits and bobs. It’s very much a team effort so they shouldn’t feel too much on the spot if they do or don’t join in. 

My child has additional needs.

Our shows are very inclusive and kids with additional or SEND enjoy them a lot. Every show has a few noisy parts, in case this helps. 

Can my child try out instruments if they didn’t get a chance to?

Yes! At the end, we invite children up to stage to try out things like the harp or hand percussion. 

Can I take photos?

Phones off and tucked away please, but please feel free take pics of your child with instruments at the end. 

I don’t have / can’t borrow a child – can I still come?

Absolutely! The Enchanted Cinema is for lovers of animation, live music & live foley FX of all ages. 

Is there somewhere to give feedback?

Indeed! We have a public comments book and also a google form. We value all feedback. 

Watch the trailers!


Photos: Bob White on behalf of IW Story Festival (#1-12), British Library (#13-17) & The Enchanted Cinema (all others)