Secret Cinema: The Empire Strikes Back

Everyone knows, or should do, that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars film to date. If you think otherwise... well, your argument is invalid in my eyes.

Secret Cinema is the big thing in immersive experiences as it throws you straight into your favourite films rather than just sitting there and watching it. When The Empire Strikes Back was announced. I had to get tickets because I knew it would be an experience of a lifetime for any geek. There was a bit of an uproar over the price of tickets (75 Galactic Credits) which is not really surprising but luckily for me, as a Freedom Pass holder because of my epilepsy, I only had to pay for one ticket and Gary, as my carer, got to go for free. Got to enjoy the perks really.

As it's SECRET Cinema, I really can't go too much into it because I don't want to be that person who ruins the experience for other fans. I can tell you though that at one point I shed a little tear because I was just mesmerised and completely blown away.

A few things I can tell you:

Get into Character

I know it's not really everyone's cup of tea but it made the experience for me even better. As you can see from the pass above, I was a Galactic Explorer and had a crazy name I couldn't pronounce. Each character had a colour scheme so the actors and other attendees could recognize your 'rank' and get involved with discussions with you. Plus, if you're that one person who isn't dressed up (or at least wearing a scarf) you will stick out like a sore thumb.

I didn't realise this until pretty close to the day so Gary and I made a last minute dash to Primarni to get what we could. My colour scheme was sand and khaki which was relatively easy compared to Gary's Creative Council (AKA, Jedi) so managed to get most of my bits in one place. We were missing key pieces though like our scarves and Gary's cloak but, the clever boy that he is, Gary found out about the pop up shop just off Brick Lane (click link for more spoiler free tips!) where they had everything available and is actually cheaper than you think.

Even entering the shop is a step into the experience as you are greeted by a fellow rebel who fills you in on all the codes and terminology you'll need to remember when you're there and it's so much fun!

In terms of our outfits, we succeeded in the end and I'm pretty proud of how we turned out:

Star wars costume
Primarni Special

Secret Cinema Galactic Explorer
Galactic Explorer Rank Badge

Star Wars costume
Gary part 1!
Star Wars Costume
The Force is strong with this one

Don't we look good?!

Be prepared to queue

On the way in, there will be a big queue which is a given. It does move pretty quickly so try not to be too impatient.

Star Wars Secret Cinema

Take your Rebel passes

It's not like you won't get in if you don't have them but again it's part of the experience and you may even get 'arrested' if you don't! 

Star Wars Secret Cinema

Don't bother with cash

If you've been reading the emails Rebel X have been sending you, you'll notice that they say only contactless payments will be accepted, in other words, cards. Even if you only have a standard chip and pin it'll be fine. It's set in the 'future' after all!

Get in on the action

Seriously, throw yourself right in. Remember what the cast tell you and just do it. Get your money's worth and become a part of the story rather than just watching it.

Have the time of your life

This needs no explanation.

Also, as a side note, if you're epileptic like me, there will be strobe lights even during the film so be careful. I was lucky enough to last until 10 minutes before the end before I landed flat on my face but the first aid staff for incredible. Not only did they make sure I was OK and supplied me with all the water in the world, they also got me to meet the cast and came to check up on me later when I carried on throughout the rest of the evening. Thanks guys.

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