Showroom Cinema: Exploring a secret world by Andy Moore 

Lost Rivers
Lost Rivers

This week at the Showroom Cinema two thrilling films reveal worlds that are normallyhidden from public view.

The first, Original Cast Album: Company, pulls back the curtain to peek behind the scenes of the high drama world of musical theatre.

Whilst the second, Lost Rivers, follows a group of urban explorers as they uncover the secret waterways and hidden worlds that lie beneath our feet.

Directed by the acclaimed documentary maker D. A. Pennebaker, Original Cast Album: Company is a fantastic fly-on-the-wall doc from 1970 that follows the cast of Stephen Sondheim’s hit Broadway musical as they attempt to record the album of the show’s famous songs.

With just one chance to get it right, the cast and orchestra pour everything they have into a gruelling 18 hour recording session. It’s an absolute joy of a film.

Tremendously exciting, and often very funny, it stands as one of the great films about the creative process.

It’s also a fitting testament to the skill and dedication of the profoundly talented cast – which includes the iconic Elaine Stritch (perhaps best known to younger audiences as Jack Donaghy’s overbearing mother in 30 Rock).

Screening on Friday the 10th of May at 6pm, the film will be accompanied by an illustrated talk from Broadway musicals expert Laurence Maslon (Professor at NYU).

Prof. Maslon’s talk will offer a fun and accessible overview of the history of the Broadway cast album, exploring its profound influence on popular culture and technology.

Lost Rivers is a documentary that explores a very different, though no less dramatic, world.

As climate change forces us to reconsider the relationship between the built environment and our natural resources, the film brings to life an aspect of urban water management and ecology that has long been kept secret.

Nearly every major city was built around rivers, and as cities grew with the Industrial Revolution, these rivers became conduits for disease and pollution. The 19th-century solution was to bury them underground.

These rivers still run through today’s metropolises, but they do so out of sight in mysterious and sometimes amazing spaces.

The film examines these amazing spaces, and introduces us to the people dedicated to exploring and restoring them.

Lost Rivers is screening on Wednesday the 15th of May at 6.15pm. The film will also feature a special introduction, where you’ll be able to learn about the latest action for Sheffield’s own hidden waterways from the new Sheaf and Porter Rivers Trust, whose vision is to help Sheffield rediscover and regenerate its own urban rivers.