There's something wonderfully hopeful about the way outdoor theatre and cinema venues are starting to pop up all over town during the summer. Wimbledon is famous for the number of times that it's rained out, Glasto isn't Glasto without the mud, and I've personally sat in a rain poncho eating a sodden picnic at the Proms in the Park. But we're still infinitely hopeful, as we book tickets weeks in advance, that the date we choose will lead into one of those calm and balmy evenings that make for the perfect outdoor event setting.
Somerset House's outdoor offering is cinematic. Run in conjunction with Film4, they roll a vast state-of-the-art screen, complete with surround sound system, into the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court - which is the main courtyard - and every evening between the 27th of July and the 7th of August they show a season of cinema classics, little seen treasures, and a few crowd pleasers thrown in for good measure.
As well as relying on dry skies, this event also relies on the sky being dark enough to see the screen properly! Some of the loveliest London dusks linger. In the interest of keeping everyone happy organisers run all sorts of entertainment in the lead up to the main feature, including short films, music, a bit of chat and maybe even a chance to win some goodies. This encourages people to arrive early to get a good possie, and set up their picnic. And yes, picnicking is encouraged, though you can't bring glass in. If you forget your picnic you can buy everything you need there, including blankets and cushions. Doors open from 18:30 when the DJs kick off, and the main feature starts at about 21.15. Or when it gets dark enough.