Born in New Zealand, but now resident in London, John Sweeney has played for silent film since 1990, starting at Riverside Studios in  London and subsequently playing at many venues in Britain  including the National Film Theatre, the Barbican Cinema, Nottingham Broadway, The Imperial War Museum, and Bristol Watershed. He has played for the British Silent Cinema Festival since it’s inception, and has since 2000 been a regular pianist at the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy. He is a regular performer at Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna and at the  Slapstick Festival of silent comedy in Bristol, and has also played at other festivals in Austria, Germany and Italy and Slovenia. He has recorded DVDs for the British Film Institute (‘Wonderful London’, parts of ‘Pioneers and Primitives’) and also Cineteca Bologna (‘Albert Capellani’) and EiditonFilmmuseum (‘Crazy Cinématographe’), as well as recording a soundtrack for Hitchcock’s ‘Downhill’ for broadcast on Sky TV. He has  played the Hitchcock silents at the Shanghai International Film Festival, and in Istanbul, Hong Kong and Kazakhstan and Moscow. He is one of the founders of the Kennington Bioscope (, doing regular screenings of neglected silent films at the Cinema Museum London with live music. He has recently composed a score for ‘The Dumb Girl of Portici’(1916).