The best businesses start from a passion.
“I love afternoon tea and I love films so I decided to combine the two,” enthuses Tracey Ripley, who started Tea at the Pictures in March.
The first themed event was The Greatest Showman, on the tables people could enjoy popcorn, a glass of fizz on arrival and then a range of finger sandwiches, cakes and two scones each.
“My mum helps me and did 500 sandwiches that day,” she reveals.
“She is absolutely amazing.
“We had about 82 people attend the first event.
“And I got to do all the fun bits the baking and petit fours plus all the decorating.”
But Tracey is no stranger to catering for large events. Her previous business was called Vanilla Pod, where she went out with her 1970s retro ice cream van Vera.
“One year I had 32 weddings,” she says.
“I loved doing them and that way of life but when I had my kids all my weekends were being taken up so I decided to sell her and focus on something else.
“I sold her to people nearby so I do still see her sometimes.”
Now Tracey plans on doing six Tea at the Pictures events a year and has already started thinking of themes for 2020.
“I may do James Bond for father’s day next year,” she says.
“This year though I have done Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious afternoon tea and later this year I am arranging Grease is the Word which will be more savoury with mini hot dogs and burgers.”
The films she chooses are purely the ones she loves.
“I am quite selfish and have used my favourite films,” she laughs.
“I love The Greatest Showman, Grease and Mary Poppins.
“With Mary Poppins I didn’t know whether to do the original or the new one but I saw the new one and she had candy floss and I thought that’s it, that’s what I want to do and the ideas started to flow.”
She adds that she can’t watch films now without thinking about what cakes or treats she can bake up in the kitchen for future events.
“Disney have so many films coming out this year I can’t wait,” explains Tracey.
The current events are for over 12s but there are plans for some more intimate events for families and little ones.
The last couple of afternoon teas have been held at East Dean village hall, which Tracey describes as ‘a beautiful venue’ and she thinks 99 per cent of the events will take place there.
“I have some ideas for other places so watch this space.
“I want it to be more than a film and afternoon tea I want it to be fun.
“When they arrived they get a drink, then there will be treats on the table for Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious it will be candy floss, then throughout the film they will get their tea and coffee replenished.
“I say it is where afternoon tea meets pop-up cinema for a gastronomic experience.”
But at the end of the day Tracey wants the people that attend to have an adventure.
“I want to give people something different so that they can come each time and it will be different.
“It is a labour of love but I really enjoy doing it and thinking of new ideas.”
It is £32.50 per person for more information, visit www.facebook.com/teaatthepics
For Christmas on December 14 there will be a family friendly indoor/outdoor screening. With a sweetie grotto selling hot chocolates, candyfloss and festive treats for all the family. Tickets will be £10 per adult and £5 per child (under 12). All with the usual Tea at the Pictures special touches.