Gladiator was the world’s biggest blockbuster when it hit screens in 2000. Now, ten years later, Colchester’s Odeon Cinema is offering viewers the chance to relive Ridley Scott’s classic on Thursday 13th May, with proceedings going to help save the city’s Roman Circus.
The project has already reached an initial 200,000 target, which will eventually be joined by almost 600,000 in public and private funding. Yet Colchester Archaeology Trust, whose director Philip Crummy will introduce the film, may help to secure access to the Victorian building sitting on top of the circus, Britain’s only Roman chariot racecource, by the summer. “By the summer we could, if all goes as quickly as possible, be in a position to start repairing the building,” says Crummy. “If we do get into the building we’ll put in a temporary display.” Read an in-depth interview with Philip Crummy here.
The circus, discovered in 2005, is the largest-known example outside Rome. Plans for the site include excavating the gate area of the quarter-mile-long track and installing interactive screens showing what a day at the races would have been like 2,000 years ago. Acclaimed author Caroline Lawrence hails the circus as a “real national treasure…well worth saving for the thousands of schoolchildren (and their parents) who love learning about Britain’s Roman heritage.” Colchester is widely acknowledged as Britain’s first Roman town. The settlement was destroyed in AD60 by Boudicca’sbloody rebellion.
Viewers are encouraged to get into character for the ancient epic – the best-dressed Roman on the night will win two tickets to the opening night of the new Robin Hood film, Scott and lead man Russell Crowe’s latest offering. Tickets for the screening at 8pm cost 10. Email organsier Darius Laws to avoid missing out on this one-off chance to relive a true modern classic.