As part of the Great Get Together this year, The Jo Cox Foundation partnered with Cinema for All to develop the Great Watch Together. This was an initiative designed to encourage community cinemas to run Great Get Togethers, highlighting the power of cinema to bridge divides and bring people together.
Sing-alongs are a great way of feeling like part of something bigger than yourself.Elizabeth Costello, Leigh Film Society
One of the community cinemas taking part this year was Leigh Film Society, a fantastic community group which runs a range of community cinema projects across Leigh and Wigan in Lancashire. Much of the film society’s work is already focused on using film and cinema to bring people together and prove that we do have more in common, so it was a natural development for the society to run a Great Get Together.
When choosing exactly what they wanted to do, the society decided it wanted its events to engage as many people, and have as wide a reach as possible. Because of this, they selected Mamma Mia as the film to screen with its fun and popular sing-along soundtrack. Elizabeth Costello, Development Director for the society explained the film choice, “Sing-alongs are a great way of feeling like part of something bigger than yourself”.
The aim of the screening was to create an event which would be a “gathering of like-minded people for entertainment and community spirit” which would welcome everyone, says Elizabeth. To emphasize the connection to Jo Cox and her legacy, the film society asked Jo Platt, a former Labour MP who knew Jo, to make a special guest introduction about Jo and the Great Get Together.
The event was a huge success, with over 80 people turning out to enjoy the film. Accessibility was taken into account at the venue, which meant that seven wheelchair users were able to attend. The screening celebrated Jo’s message that we have more in common than that which divides us, and as a result, the Leigh Film Society are planning to turn the Great Watch Together into an annual event, using it to bring their community together every year.