Secret Cinema isn’t so secret anymore, but with the scale of it’s latest projects can it afford to be?
The importance of the secret is no longer that few people know about the event, it’s now a global phenomenon with a name for itself as being the go-to immersive experience, but how does it hold on to the secrecy appeal? No, its not a secret event anymore, but the secret is now about what happens once you’re in. With no phones or cameras allowed, and the press writing enticingly vague accounts of their experiences, you still don’t quite know what to expect until you’re inside.
2014 was the year of Back to the Future. Walking on set, you were thrust into 1955. It truly was a spectacle like nothing before. The scale was huge, you really could explore Hill Valley – the shops were real, Lou’s Cafe was selling food and milkshakes, the High School had the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, there was a 1950’s fair, and of course there was the clock tower, which screened the film while it was being acted out live around you. It was fair to wonder how Secret Cinema was going to top that in 2015.
Then they announced the next project was Star Wars.
The build up was unparalleled. Coded correspondence, secret pre-event meetings and mysterious social media posts made up the weeks leading to the event.
You’re given a character, part of the Rebel Alliance, and told how to dress and what to bring, but nothing can prepare you for the adventure that’s about to ensue.
You are transported from planet Earth on a rebel transport through space. You must keep low, keep your face covered and hurry. Then, once your journey is over, you enter the world of Tatooine. There’s sand everywhere, Jawa’s trading droids and circuit boards, and stormtroopers making arrests (of actors and visitors alike). It’s your adventure to continue from here. Everyone’s story is different, but they all have the same outcome: pure enjoyment.
Secret Cinema Presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is an experience that no Star Wars fan should miss. Not only immersive in the sense of being inside Star Wars (yes, you are on Tatooine. Really.) but you are also thrust into the action by the constant stream of actors playing Luke, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo (and so on) talking to you, sending you on missions and striking up deals with you – notably Han Solo looking for his next paying passengers, crooks or no crooks. If you’re a Star Wars fan, there’s no better way to experience the films.
With such a huge production this year, where can Secret Cinema go from here? They’ve successfully tackled the biggest franchise of all time. Will they choose another blockbuster hit sure to bring people from far and wide, try a cult classic with a devoted fanbase, or go for something completely different and unheard of? It’s anyone’s guess, but no matter what, try and get a ticket… It’ll be worth it.
**Note: if you truly want to experience Secret Cinema then embrace your character and go in costume – that’s how the actors identify how to interact with you, so those who go in normal clothing will miss out on a big part of the charade. Luke Skywalker might ask you to trade something with a Jawa for him, a Jawa might try to steal from you, Leia might ask if you know where she can find Obi-Wan, you might be asked to join a pilot training programme. You never know… but go in costume and most importantly, have fun.
Secret Cinema Presents Star Wars runs until 27th September 2015 with tickets still available on certain dates. Visit the website to find out more.