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Sunday Sketch Club: April at the Rivoli!

Sketching at the Rivoli Cinema in Camberwell
Meg sketching away in front of a beautiful art piece at the Rivoli

The charm of cinema extends beyond the screen—it’s in the grandeur of the architecture, the stories etched in its walls, and the memories that linger in its halls. This month, we headed to the Rivoli Cinema in Camberwell to sketch its art moderne interior and discover some of its secrets.

This month our focus was on rendering and shading and the mystery art supply was a coloured mechanical pencil! I chose the mechanical pencil be

Sketching at the Rivoli Cinema in Camberwell
Sketch of the Lounge by Gabe

cause I've always enjoyed the simplicity of having one tool that can produce so many interesting shading effects from cross hatching to scumbling.

Nestled in the heart of Camberwell, the Rivoli Cinema stands as a testament to the golden age of cinema. Stepping through its doors feels like stepping back in time. Originally opened in 1911 as the Rivoli Picture Palace, it has witnessed the evolution of cinema over the decades, from silent films to modern blockbusters.

The Rivoli boasts a striking blend of Art Deco and Neo-Classical styles, with its façade adorned with intricate carvings and majestic columns. As one of our group rightly pointed out, the contrast between geometric lines and curved forms is reminiscent of Egyptomania (a new word I learned this month!).

It was a quiet morning with not many sessions running so it truly felt like we had the whole building to ourselves. We explored corridors, hallways and the terrace bar. Everywhere you looked, you found a different detail that took you back in time.

No exploration of Rivoli would be complete without mentioning the ghost stories that have circulated around its halls. Legend has it that the spirit of a former projectionist still roams the theatres, his presence felt in the flickering lights and eerie shadows of the theater. There's definitely an allure about the idea of ghosts of the past continuing to haunt a building which truly feels like it bridges the gap between centuries.

In the end, I think it would be fair to say that our experience at the Rivoli Cinema reminded us of the profound connection between art and architecture, history and creativity.

So, the next time you find yourself in Camberwell, I urge you to step inside and lose yourself in a whirlwind of cinema's golden age.

Sketching at the Rivoli Cinema in Camberwell
Meg, Gabe, Lisa, Penny, Elena, Livi and Me!


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