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Empire of Light (15)

theatre

Sam Mendes delivers a stirring ode to the cinema — as a space for collective experience, offering the pleasures and balms of watching films in darkness together - as Hilary (played by Olivia Colman) manages a seafront picture palace in Margate in the early 1980s. Once an opulent multiscreen cinema with a dance hall overlooking the sea, now only one screen remains open, albeit a grand one.

In preparation for a regional premiere of Chariots of Fire, Hilary and her colleagues - played by a heavyweight ensemble that includes Toby Jones, Colin Firth, Tom Brooke and Michael Ward - spruce up the venue.

Outside, the town itself is crumbling, with a rising far-right presence and Stephen (Ward) regularly harassed by skinheads.

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