A roll of film

Stratford Cinemas: A Film Buff’s Guide to East London

The West-end may be the long-established epicentre of London’s film and theatre culture, but film lovers are just as spoilt for choice in Stratford and its surrounding areas.  What the area may lack in star-studded premieres and the latest IMAX technology is more than compensated for by special outdoor screenings, industry training sessions and even the odd famous filming location.

Stratford Picturehouse

Where: Salway Rd, E15 1BX

Thanks to their reliable mix of blockbusters and arthouse films alike, seeking out a Picturehouse cinema is often first on the agenda for this film lover upon entering a new city. Stratford Picturehouse in particular hosts all manner of Q&A screenings with everyone from up-and-coming directors to established auteurs. Their nationwide Vintage Sundays initiative also guarantees a weekly dose of classic Hollywood, so keep an eye out for a chance to see your favourite film on the big screen. 

General admission is £7.50 all day, every day. Opening hours are dependent on screening times.


Roof East

Where: Great Eastern Rd, E15 1BB

During its last refurbishment, the former rooftop car park upon which Roof East sits underwent a makeover befitting of Hollywood rom coms to become a thriving bar, community space and open-air cinema. Time can only tell, then, what its re-opening in April 2020 will hold. The team pride themselves on a hand-picked programme including golden oldies, cult classics and even the occasional double bill. And if your eyes need a break from the screen, there’s always the panoramic views of East London to enjoy.

Roof East is open from 5:30pm Tuesday-Fridays and serves drinks until 10:30pm. It is currently closed for refurbishment but re-opens on April 23, 2020. 


Theatre Royal Stratford East

Where: Gerry Raffles Square, E15 1BN

While you may be hard-pressed to find a film screening here that’s not a private hire, Theatre Royal Stratford East’s rich history should be of interest to anyone enamoured with the performing arts. Founded in 1884, the theatre pre-dates the medium of film itself. Its prestigious productions have been known to attract Hollywood royalty, of which Ian McKellen is perhaps the most recent and notable. Whether you’re looking to gain some acting experience yourself, or you just want the bragging rights of treading the same boards as Gandalf, their monthly masterclasses are worth keeping an eye out for. 

Showtimes and ticket prices vary.


Hackney Empire

Where: 291 Mare St, E8 1EJ

For those looking to step into a film rather than to sit in front of one, Hackney Empire boasts the impressive achievement of featuring in one of the century’s most successful film franchises. Its vintage auditorium can be seen in all its glory in Captain America: The First Avenger. One quick selfie is bound to have your friends ‘marvelling’ at your recent visit. Their Creative Futures programme also offers fantastic tuition and networking opportunities for young creatives looking to break into the industry. Budding actors can get together for their Performers Network sessions while aspiring producers can learn how to put on their own events.

Showtimes and ticket prices vary.