Secret Cinema has been bringing its unique fusion of film, music, theatre and art to abandoned spaces across London since 2007. They run two types of event: the original, where both location and film are kept under wraps until the final moment and their more recent projects, Secret Cinema Presents, where the film is announced in advance.
Though I am a massive movie fan, I put off buying a ticket for their previous cinematic events as I was apprehensive about forking out what seemed like a lot of money for something so covert. However when ‘Star Wars – Empire Strikes Back’ was announced as their latest Secret Cinema Presents production, my excitement took over from any previous doubts.
This series of films has continued to be a firm favourite of mine all the way from childhood to present day. They hold many memories;
Being scared (but trying to keep my cool) whilst watching them at a young age with my grandparents. Saving up my Dairylea Triangle tokens to get my much loved ewok video.
Forcing my mum to go on the ride at Disney despite the fact hates both Sci-Fi and theme parks.
My teenage friends finding my secret lightsaber and never letting me forget it.
Missing lectures at uni by being slumped hungover and watching ‘just one more’ film.
Now it was time to embrace my inner fantasy fangirl by heading out in London as a galactic explorer.
So, was my first Secret Cinema experience worth the price tag? Without any spoilers I am going to try to put into word why my answer is a resounding YES.
After buying my ticket I was excited, but I had a long six week wait before being able to enjoy my purchase. For someone as impatient as me, this felt like a lightyear away. Secret Cinema had my restlessness covered with emails, a website especially for those who were deemed worthy enough to become part of the rebel alliance, and events to help get in touch with that inner force.
Anticipation successfully built, the last piece of information shared was my new identity and “travel details”.
Costumes on and excited to depart the real world for a few hours, we arrived at the venue where the experience began immediately. Though this event was created for fans, with meticulous attention to deal and in jokes all the way through, it was really up to you how much you threw yourself into the action. The only thing that you are “forced” to participate with is giving up your phone for the duration of the evening. This seemed to deeply aggravate the couple behind me, however in such a digitally reliant age it was the only way to ensure that the mystery was not spoiled for future guests. I actually really enjoyed being completely disconnect for the evening, as it allowed me to fully soak in the surroundings without any distractions.
Before the movie even began there was around two hours of entertainment where you could either be an observer or actively be part of the narrative. We did a mixture of both, enjoying some amazing spicy stall food and a craft beer in the same bar as Chewbacca (I was legit star struck) before getting involved in a mission with a fellow rebel.
I was so engrossed in the world that had been created, I started feel like an actual inhabitant of Tatooine and could have happily stayed there all evening but alarm bells started to ring and we were whisked through to the next round of entertainment. This was a full blown theatrical experience where we gasped, booed, cheered, clapped and whooped like excitable children.
Finally, it was time for the film to be screened, but the live action didn’t stop there…
The attention to details, props, costume, theatrics, and film provided us with 5 hours of non-stop entertainment that was of such a high standard I would go as far to say the whole event was a bargain. It may have taken me a while to be convinced by the concept but Secret Cinema I am now ‘with you’ and this will absolutely not be my last event.
Have any of you been to Secret Cinema? Did you love it as much as me? Would you be keen to get tickets for a future event?