Belfast’s rich seafaring tradition will be celebrated tonight with a special screening of Moby Dick at a venue which most cinema-goers wouldn’t be used to.
Sinclair Seamen’s Presbyterian Church — which was built to meet the spiritual needs of sailors coming into the city’s port — will host the screening as part of the Belfast Film Festival
It is hoped to both highlight the film, starring Gregory Peck, and the novel, written by Herman Melville, as well as the architectural and historical significance of the building.
The church was designed by Charles Lanyon — famous for being the architect behind Queen’s University — and features a pulpit in the shape of the bow of a ship, as well as navigation lights and a ship’s bell.
Located on Corporation Street, it has become a shrine to all things maritime, and regularly draws tourists fascinated by the city’s ship-building history.
Belfast Film Festival programmer, Stephen Hackett, said: “For a few years now we have been screening films in different locations in Belfast.
“We try to show films which are sympathetic to the history or architecture of the building — St Anne’s Cathedral looks similar to the one shown in the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and in Christ the Scientist Church, it was designed by the architect who designed the set for the film that was shown in it – The Prisoner. We wanted to use Sinclair Seaman’s and to show a film that reflected the seafaring tradition in Belfast, so that was primarily why we chose Moby Dick for that location.”
Before the film is shown there will be a talk and discussion about Belfast’s architectural heritage and the history of the church.
Moby Dick will be shown at 8.30pm tonight. Tickets are £6.
Sinclair Seaman’s Presbyterian Church dates from 1857. It was commissioned by Thomas Sinclair in memory of his merchant father John.
Moby Dick was published in 1851 by Herman Melville. It was adapted for the big screen in 1956, with Gregory Peck starring as Captain Ahab.