Getting Into The Movies: 360 Screenings

Last weekend we went somewhere cool. There’s no other way to describe it, really. There’s a lot to do in this city and yet sometimes it seems difficult to find anything original going on. Well, we did and it was worth it.

360 Screenings provides a cinematic experience like none you’ve had before. Here’s how it works. You sign up and buy a ticket. You’ll know the date of the screening but you won’t know what movie you’re going to watch or where it’s going to be shown. Just 24 hours before show time, you’ll get an email telling you which of Toronto’s heritage buildings (it’s always held in a beautiful old space) you should head to and what, if any, costumes or dress codes should be followed. We know, we like secrets too.

Our email tells us we’re headed to St. Lawrence Hall (King & Jarvis) and informs us that we’ll be ‘attending a masquerade ball’ and that we’re ‘highly encouraged to wear a mask and costume piece of some sort.’ This isn’t your rainy day movie experience. When we show up at the Hall there’s already a great deal of young cinephiles strutting about in fancy dress and decorated masks. Before we even make it to the third floor a young man with his shirt open asks us where we got our tickets and whether or not we can get him into the party.

Another young man wearing a knight’s chest plate rushes down the stairs excitedly and pulls us up to the third floor, leading us quickly into a room where several other guests mill about and a shirtless man hands out pieces of paper. We have no idea what’s going on – and it’s fantastic.

The shirtless man eventually hands us a piece of paper and asks us to write a love note to someone at the party. We hand it back to him, and he tells us we can leave. Later, while standing amongst the other guests, glass of wine in hand, watching as several actors put on performances in the middle of the crowd, treating us all as extras, a masked woman approaches and hands us a love note that someone else has written for us. We believe the appropriate word here is swoon…

It doesn’t take long to figure out that the film we’ll be viewing is Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 version of Romeo & Juliet. Yes, Leo and Claire Danes will soon be spewing love all over the screen, but we’re much more content to watch the live actors in front of us perform. That’s right, we’re at the Capulet’s Ball and everything is unfolding right before our eyes. Paris is here, and Mercutio, and Tybalt too. But it’s the star-crossed lovers we can’t take our eyes off of. The only tragedy here is that we already know how it all will end.

After an hour of food and drink (Steam Whistle, Creekside Estate Winery, CHEESEWERKS, and Tiny Tom Donuts are on site) during which we wander through several decorated rooms that replicate spaces you’d find in the film, running into character after character, we’re ushered into a beautiful screening room to watch the movie. And it feels like we’re a part of it in a way that’s never happened before.

360 Screenings only puts on four or five shows a year so we suggest you sign up today and get ready for the next one. We don’t know what movie it will be but we do know that the experience will be a blockbuster all on its own.

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)

Want more updates on the most Notable things happening so you know before your colleagues do? Get our exclusive newsletter here and follow us on Twitter for all the latest.