Historic Sunderland pub stars in film

Film maker Laurie Cansfield has made a documentary about the Museum Vaults pub.

Film maker Laurie Cansfield has made a documentary about the Museum Vaults pub.

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REGULARS at a traditional pub have become the stars of a film about their favourite watering hole.

Bar worker turned film-maker Laurie Cansfield swapped pint glasses for camera lenses to capture a day in the life of one of Sunderland’s oldest pubs.

Regulars at The Museum Vaults, in Silksworth Row, were put in focus by the 33-year-old across a series of visits to the 100-year-old pub.

Now 12 hours of footage has been transformed into a 29-minute film, which is going on show at independent pubs across the region.

Laurie, who is originally from Millfield, was inspired to set out on the project after working behind its bar.

The aspiring film-maker returned to Sunderland after studying in London and working at the London College of Fashion, before moving to Barcelona.

After borrowing money to buy a video camera, he set about turning the tales of drinkers in the Vaults into a short film.

He said: “It was good observing people when you are straight behind the bar and it is quite like a reality TV show happening in front of you.

“A few months after I stopped working there, I bought a new camera and thought I might as well start it off by taking it to The Vaults for a couple of weeks.”

Laurie, a former student of Shiney Row College, did not have a problem encouraging pub-goers to get involved.

“Most people embraced it because they knew me,” he said. “They were really enthusiastic and had stories to tell.

“It is great that there is still a place for these pubs in the UK, because it is almost like they are not the norm anymore.”

Vaults landlady Sara Wilson and the regulars have so far raised a glass to Laurie’s work, along with the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

“We’ve had two screenings so far at The Vaults and they absolutely loved it,” he said.

“A few people from the Camra came along and they were delighted with it.”

Landlady Sara, 47, runs the former Vaux pub alongside mum Elsie, who took over 35 years ago with husband Fred, who died in 1988.

She said: “I was a bit nervous at first, but I’m really pleased with it.

“I just think if somebody asks to do something different in your pub, then you should be open to it.”

Screenings of the film, which features music from The Futureheads, comes to its namesake on Sunday, April 28, with showings at 2pm and 4pm.

It will also be screened at The Schooner in Gateshead tomorrow from 8pm, and The Free Trade Inn, near Laurie’s home in Ouseburn, Newcastle, from 8pm on Tuesday, April 23.

l For more information, follow @thevaultsfilm on Twitter.