At the beginning of 2020, no one could have imagined how much worse things could get for pubs.
We started making work about pubs in 2016, the same year CAMRA announced that the campaign for real ale had been successful (yay, beer!) but with pubs closing at such an alarming rate there would soon be nowhere to socially drink it (boo) unless citizens and government took action.
This became personal for us in 2017 when our much loved local in Cornwall, The Seven Stars, closed its doors on New Years Eve. We’ve witnessed (and felt) the impact on a community when it loses its pub. We successfully campaigned to register the pub as an Asset of Community Value and organise bi-annual Seven Stars reunions in a community hall, with the former landlord running the bar. Lockdown has brought a group of ex-Seven Stars regulars together again via Friday night Zoom pub socials. Whilst never a replacement for the real thing, these virtual pub socials have provided a dearly missed sense of the local: connectedness, new friendships, top banter, mutual support and unexpected moments of hilarity and joy.
As pubs begin to reopen, what is the future for these critically important spaces in our communities? This is the big question behind our new show in development, Future Pub. Its a project that has been brewing for a while, the funding for which, in a strange quirk of fate, was confirmed on the same day pubs were ordered to close due to Covid 19. We’ve had to adapt our working methods of course, create Covid safe protocols and revise project timescales, but we’re delighted to have been able to start work on Future Pub in the studio during lockdown, and more recently on location outside breweries and pubs where we are recording interviews with brewers, pub campaigners and community members. Memories, experiences and opinions shared by participants who have a personal and/or professional interest in the future of pubs, will be integrated into the show via the “Pub TV”, and also archived for long term preservation at Kresen Kernow.
Filmmaker John Crooks with Simon Treen (left) and Janet Curtis (right) at Treens Brewery, Ponsonooth, Cornwall.