Grab yourself a slice of Birmingham’s cinema history with a brand-new miniature sculpture series from local makers Spaceplay, commissioned by Flatpack.
Flatpack and Spaceplay’s Wonderland Miniatures collection is a series of eight mini sculptures of Birmingham cinemas spanning the last hundred years. If you’ve been to Flatpack’s Wonderland exhibition at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BM&AG) you’ll know that there were once well over 100 cinemas in the city. The eight cinemas represented in the series – which include the Electric Cinema, Odeon Kingstanding and the Kingsway – represent different time periods and architectural styles. Behind each building is a treasure trove of fascinating stories about Birmingham and its rich film-going history.
Known for creating unique film and cinema-inspired events and experiences, Flatpack have spent the last year delving into how cinema has shaped the streets, social lives and dreams of Brummies. The birthplace of celluloid and the Odeon circuit, Birmingham has been a cinema city since the very first flickering images astonished audiences in the late 19th century. An unmissable exhibition at BM&AG reveals the city’s cinema history through stories, photographs, cinema memorabilia and optical gadgets from the museum’s collection.
Visitors have said:
“Will make any cinema lover feel an array of emotions and you’ll walk away wanting to see it again.”
““It’s a must-see for fans of cinema and local history; there’s so much that I just wasn’t aware of!”
“A love letter to cinema in Birmingham and beautifully researched and presented.”
The exhibition sits around a unique 3D map created by Birmingham makers Spaceplay, known for creating stunning miniatures of landmark brutalist buildings from around the world. The map is a centrepiece not just for the exhibition, but for the Wonderland project, which encourages visitors to visit the city’s cinemas – past and present.
Adam Carthy, Architecture Designer at Spaceplay said:
“Working on Wonderland has given us a way to explore the history of Birmingham through a very specific lens. It’s been fascinating discovering how many cinemas there have been across the city and learning about the impact that these amazing buildings have had on its history. “
The eight cinemas recreated in miniature include The Electric Cinema – beloved by audiences as evidenced by the outpourings of support when the building reopened earlier this year – the Kingsway in Kings Heath, the Piccadilly in Sparkbrook, and three Odeons – Birmingham New Street, Perry Barr and Kingstanding.
Each artwork is packaged in a custom black gift box and includes a beautifully designed collectible cinema card featuring ‘fun facts’ and little known information about the history of the cinema. The models are available to pre-order for £50 each or £350 for the whole set from 30 August – 18 September at https://space-play.co.uk/collections/wonderland. The collection goes on general sale Monday 26 September.
The models are launched ahead of Birmingham Heritage Week (9-18 September), and Flatpack are presenting a menu of ways for people to discover the cinema history of the city over the next few months.
>Embrace your inner detective and take part in a cinema treasure hunt, discovering clues and hidden spaces to uncover the stories of Birmingham’s city centre picturehouses.
>Explore your own neighbourhoodwith a citywide trail – find QR codes in lost-cinema locations across Birmingham and uncover a digital Wonderland collectable card offering surprising trivia and exclusive offers.
As well as discovering stories, members of the public are invited to share their own cinema-going memories.
>BM&AG will host Wonderland Memory Box – a day of conversation and archive film, inviting everyone to bring along stories, tickets, photos, and memorabilia from cinema-going anywhere in Birmingham.
>Flatpack will launch Wonderland Online, an interactive website where people can navigate through an evolving film and cinema landscape and share their memories.