The Picture House – by Clare Shaw

The Hebden Bridge Film Festival takes place online from 19th to 21st March 2021. This year’s festival theme is ‘The Other’ – very fitting with over 500 years of non-conformism in the Calder Valley. The Festival programme includes a World Premiere and two UK Premieres – take a look at the full programme and buy your Festival Pass or tickets to see individual films on the Festival website and keep up to date via their Facebook page.

The specially commissioned poem has been written by Hebden Bridge based poet and performer Clare Shaw. Her work, according to the Times Literary Supplement, is “fierce, memorable and visceral”. The poem sums up just a little of what we have lost, what we are surviving and what we cannot wait to get back to – Cinema

Enjoy this short film of the poem, performed by a friend and patron of Hebden Bridge Film Festival, Maxine Peake, and filmed in the historic and beautiful Hebden Bridge Picture House: Watch the short film here.

And here is the full poem:


by Clare Shaw

Because we gathered here,

we came in all weathers,

we breathed together.

Because we spoke our secrets to each other.

Because we shared our dreams.

Because we saw our angels on the screen.

Because miracles happened –

we could fly,

we could fall from great heights and survive.

Because this was life. because stone could hold us

and bricks could protect us.

Cinema could weather the storm

because it is formed under pressure,

because it is made of grit

and our town is a river of light.

It flows from the moorland

and down through the valley

and in rough waters,

the waves could not take us.

Because we laughed in the darkness,

because we would not give in.

Now we see ourselves reflected on the screen

because we are heroes, because we are afraid.

Because we have fallen in love with each other;

because we cannot touch each other

because we have lost each other.

Because we still stand together,

because we are other,

Because we are all the same.

And though there are miles of darkness between us

this is a way of being together.

Because you are listening,

because you are watching

the door is still open,

the lights are still blazing

and the chairs all ache to hold us in their arms.

The chairs all ache to hold us in their arms.