Today was the official public opening of Phoenix Square, Leicester’s new independent cinema and digital media centre. As a mobile worker my main demand of any new cultural centre in my city of residence is that it provide a decent place for me to sit and answer emails, and I’m happy to say that Phoenix Square succeeds nicely in this regard (or will do on days when the bar hasn’t been turned into an early 90’s rave). I’m certainly going to love having two well equipped cinema screens showing the kind of movies that don’t make into the multiplex. And the digital art programme seems genuinely interesting, to judge by tasters on offer at launch (except for the 90’s rave DJ’s, who can and must be banned from the building).
If there is a major negative it is that the area around Phoenix Square is truly dismal, but then one aim of the project is to regenerate that quarter of the city, so that is too be expected. Phoenix Square is a tremendous gift to the city, especially after the disappointing failure of the Curve theatre to engage the local community in any meaningful way (lets hope they put that right soon). I will certainly be a frequent visitor.