Welcome to The Bioscope! For anyone unfamiliar us, here is everything you need to know!
The Bioscope is has proudly been Johannesburg’s independent cinema for the last 12 years! What does this mean? Well aside from being independently owned, the majority of what we screen is different to what you would find at a big commercial cinema. We used to be based in Maboneng, but as of July 2020, we are now based in 44 Stanley which is in Milpark.
We just have the one cinema room, which seats 47 people. We have alot of public screenings, all of which are listed here in our coming and current attractions page. We have a mailing list you can sign up for, where we send out weekly programs of what is screening. We also recommend you follow us on instagram for more updates on what public events are going down.
So what do we screen? Well sometimes its not even cinema! We do live stand-up comedy, live music, improv comedy, and special talks. When it comes to cinema, we try focus on locally produced content wherever possible! We enjoy screening topical documentaries, and working with embassies to screen films from around the world. Over the last ten years we have developed our own unique signature events like DumplingBox Cinema, Ugly Cry Night, Sing-Alongs, anniversary screenings, and more.
Then an important thing to remember is that the cinema is available for hire! From just two people to a big conference or production wrap party, we can cater for it all. We especially enjoy birthday parties, and have packages tailored for every kind of event.
We have all the catering you need. All of which is served and enjoyed in the cinema, as well as our beautiful outdoor courtyard. We specialise in pizza over here. Here is more info on The Bioscope Cafe.
If you have any more questions, please send us an email at email@example.com
Some more history and context.
The aim of The Bioscope has always been to increase the diversity of content on South African cinema screens thereby becoming an important cultural space in the city of Johannesburg. In bringing new films to new audiences, The Bioscope has helped play a fundamental role in growing new markets for new films, becoming a vital mechanism in developing local audiences for locally & internationally produced cinema.
There was once a time in Johannesburg, when going to the cinema meant watching a movie on Louis Botha Avenue at either the Astra or Royal Bioscopes or at one of the many bioscopes in Hillbrow. The days of the bioscopes are fondly remembered by many today. These were stand alone, walk-in cinemas housed in beautiful old art-deco buildings and were located all over the city.
Today however, independent cinemas have slowly dwindled down to almost none other than ourselves. Commercial cinema has come to dominate South African consumption and most movie theatres are located in bland shopping malls and all screen essentially the same content – mainstream films that look and sound like each other week in and week out.
At these cinemas there is very little will to bring in small international films or documentaries and many locally made films rarely receive a theatrical release for similar reasons. As a result of this conservative model, many great films are rarely seen in South Africa.
Johannesburg, unlike the city of Cape Town, did not have an independent cinema theatre that caters outside of the parameters of mainstream movies. The Bioscope has performed this important role by enhancing the cultural environment of Johannesburg by becoming the city’s only truly independent cinema. A unique exhibition space where on any night of the week, one will be able to find old cult classics, discover small films from other parts of the world, and most importantly watch South African cinema past and present. Other events at The Bioscope include talks, live performances, and film festivals.