Ballerina Ballroom

Frankly this all sounded too delicious to be true…… but it is. Links at the end of the info :

“A while ago, on an impulse, a quixotic seizure, Tilda Swinton rented a ballroom in an old Victorian stone building in Nairn in the North East of Scotland, a seaside town where Chaplin used to holiday and which has a balmy microclimate and vistas across the Moray Firth to the Black Isle, Cromarty and Sutherland.

The ballroom is called Ballerina. In the 60s and 70s Pink Floyd, The Who and Cream played there. The ballroom in nearby Elgin was called The Red Shoes.

After renting the Ballerina, Tilda emailed Mark Cousins to ask if he’d help her put on a film festival in it. As quixotic as she, he said yes. And so, together, they dreamt up a festival of beanbags on the floor, that would run 8 1/2 days, that would be a 6 out of ten on the grunge scale, that would serve home-made cakes and fish finger sandwiches, whose tickets would be £3/£2, and that would transform the Ballerina into something like a ghost train.

And the films? Tilda and Mark clicked at once on what they wanted to show: Gothic Americana, Margaret Rutherford in the morning, a touch of Sherlock, a gripping howl of rage from Senegal, a Bjork video, Norman McLaren’s dreamscapes, a cheeky wee silent Ozu, lots of Scottish mysticism, Margaret Tait, Roman P, a singing day, the most adventurous films ever for kids, something glorious from Iran. We left our two Friday nights slots open for Joel Coen to select two of his faves. Three movies a day for the 8 1/2 days, from 15th – 23rd August 2008. The last movie will be Fellini’s 8 1/2.

We are telling you all this because we would LOVE it if you would join us in Nairn for our fest of swash and buckle, of misty art direction and sinister revelation, of moonage daydreaming, of surrealism, of collisions between films, of passionate love for cinema, its wonder and plenitude. We see our wee festival as a work of the Scottish romantic imagination, in the spirit of Landseer, Powell and Pressburger’s The Archers and Michael Clark! We have tried to programme imaginatively. We hope that we are playing with the boundaries between seriousness and play, adult and child, professional and grungy, local and international.

Our wee festival in what we have renamed, for the duration, The Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams, will be really welcoming, friendly, especially for kids, and inclusive. We hope that legendary John Byrne will do some design for us. People will make buns. We might cycle in the mornings, or swim, or read or drink tea. If you come, even if you are dead famous, you have to pay your three quid – unless you bring a tray of fairy cakes, that is. Nairn has quite a few b & bs and hotels – book soon! Or camp in tents, or you could stay in Inverness if there’s nae room at the inn.

Tilda hopes that this will be an annual event, a movie retreat (or, rather, as Ian Hamilton Finlay used to say “not a retreat, an advance”). Please please come and join on in the state of cinema which, as Tilda once wrote, is “a state of mind, boundary-less, without borders or policies of exclusion.”

For more info, join our Facebook group (search for ballerina ballroom), or MySpace page:
Or register your interest by emailing matthewlloyd(at)”

I mean Margaret Rutherford AND Powell and Pressburger…. pffft how could it not be fabulous.


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