There’s a storm coming and it’s cold, very cold. Last night at dusk, people in their hundreds descended upon a secret meeting place after being summoned by the State of Oak Hampton Justice Department. There was excitement in the air, a humming chatter like white noise as adults found themselves children again, giggling in line and in strict uniforms of a suit and tie, with long johns underneath (try finding long johns in London). Welcome to Secret Cinema.
Secret Cinema has been setting the world of immersive cinema alight since its inception in 2007, taking films of the old and new and breathing life into it with embedded actors, breathtaking locations, and high-octane narratives. Just this summer, they transformed 190,000 sq. ft into the world of Prometheus, where over 25,000 attended as Brave New Venture employees in boilers suits. And now they return with yet another exhilarating production, which will run until 2/12.
For Secret Cinema veterans we all know the almighty rule. But in case you don’t, don’t worry as it’s a very simple one.
Tell no one. Not of the location, details, and, above all else, the film.
When we arrived to the meeting point we were surprised that it would not be a final destination. After quick, but very intense, orders we were whisked off to another secret location where the real fun began and where the giggling ended, for a while anyway. It takes some time to realise that you are very far from the world that you left, but as soon as you step off the bus you are almost punched in the face with the most amazing performances awaiting your night.
It’s as if Secret Cinema transformed this abandoned location into a virtual board game, where you can be led to different corners and routes with just one decision. There is not only one path to tread. So if you are attending this event with others, please be warned that you may be exploring on your own as it is all too easy to suddenly find yourself without your partners in crime. But don’t let this dampen your spirits as you won’t be standing idly by yourself for long. You will soon find notes slipped into your hand with instructions that will lead you through mini-missions and treasure hunts.
Squeeze every last ounce of what Secret Cinema can provide to the last second. Try to creep away from the crowd, explore, join in with the actors and transform yourself into another person for just one night. And if a few hours aren’t enough for you, you can stay in the venue overnight with Secret Hotel, Secret Cinema’s newest venture.
Super sleuths can follow the digital breadcrumbs that Secret Cinema has left to come up with their own decisions of what world they will be falling into this time. But to truly experience this, go blind and try to pick up on the clues while you are there. This is very different to your usual cinema trip. The laughs are louder, the gasps are quicker, and you’ll find yourself being dragged into this pantomime head first.
While it is hard to justify a price of £33.50-£43.50 on a ticket for an event that you know nearly nothing about, it’s difficult to resist. So be quick and grab some tickets while there are still some left, because when you do reach the end you know that you are one of the few that experienced the night quite like you did.
Here are a few tips to survive the night:
Bring cash! There will be no convenient cashpoint around the corner once you are in the venue.
Be the actor. Spook other audience members and build your acting skills while you’re at it.
Keep as close to the costume guide as possible.
Wear comfortable shoes. Seriously. This will be no place for high heels.
Words and photo by Veronica Foo
More photos will be coming up soon