A CINEMATIC centenary is celebrated in Chepstow Castle this weekend with the screening of a film made there in 1913.

Ivanhoe was one of the first Hollywood films made abroad, a very important occasion for Monm outhshire.

A hundred years ago, American actors descended on Chepstow and worked with dozens of locals who appeared as extras in Walter Scott’s classic.

They were used to dressing up having staged spectacular community theatrical events in the castle for many years.

An important slice of history saw the hotels full of Norman knights, a 500 strong cast of people and 50 horses and enthusiastic participation resulted in a number of injuries.

The filming was described as “the biggest venture of the kind ever attempted in England,”

but it took hardly any time at all.

Imperial Film Company’s interest in ChepstowCastle was mentioned in early June and negotiations for its use came two weeks later.

Filming finished on July 15 and Ivanhoe was showing by September.

Participants relived their performance at numerous showings of the film in the Electric Picture Hall in Beaufort Square.

Ivanhoe was played by the then famous American star, King Baggot and 3,500 ft of negative made the final three-reel film. This Saturday and Sunday, the 48 minute spectacle will be accompanied on piano by international singer and pianist Karl Daymond, including music composed in 1913.

The first part of the celebration is a picnic concert by the 100- strong singing club led by Mr Daymond in medieval costume.

The audience is invited to bring along rugs, folding chairs and picnics.

One of the organisers, Cllr Ned Heywood, told the Argus the event will mark a huge milestone.

He said: “We have been thinking about doing this for three to four years.

“It was a major film very early on in cinema history, it was a huge spectacle, something completely novel.

“We thought we would mark the centenary as it’s significant for the town.”

● Tickets are both evenings are £5 from Chepstow Museum on 01291 625981.