‘Immersive theatre’ or how did we cope before there were smartphones?

My intention for today was to write about my experience at Secret Cinema’s latest attempt at ‘immersive theatre’: an interactive version of the 80s cult movie Back to the Future.  They have recreated the town of Hill Valley from the movie out in East London near to the old Olympic village and attendees were invited to become part of the experience by taking on new identities and dressing for the occasion in 1955 appropriate clothes.

Here Chantelle my favourite mannequin models my outfit for the occasion.   I didn’t want to spend a whole heap of money on buying vintage 50s clothes for the occasion, so I improvised by sewing a petticoat into an old skirt and teaming it with a little cardi.  The pearls were the only genuine 1950s thing.

Here Chantelle my favourite mannequin models my outfit for the occasion. I didn’t want to spend a whole heap of money on buying vintage 50s clothes for the occasion, so I improvised by sewing a petticoat into an old skirt and teaming it with a little cardi. The pearls were the only genuine 1950s thing.

However around an hour and a half before the start of the event, and just as I was getting ready to leave the house, Secret cinema cancelled due to ‘unavoidable circumstances’.  To say I was disappointed would be an understatement, however all I’d wasted was a bit of time putting together a costume and around twenty minutes trying to tame my unruly hair into a ponytail.  Many people were coming from further away and were already en route; people had booked hotel accommodation, had spent out money on costume hire or babysitters and were soon baying for blood on SC’s Facebook page.

People had been getting decidedly edgy already on account of being told there was to be a strict no mobiles/no cameras policy.  I love taking pictures too but I also thought it would be a nice opportunity to just enjoy living in the moment and getting into my character without the distraction of posing for photos or checking my emails at every ‘lull’.

However message boards were full of people panicking about what they would miss by being separated from their phones for five hours.   People who didn’t want to go if they couldn’t take their camera (not capable of enjoying anything unless they can post a picture of it on Facebook).  Don’t these people ever take long haul flights?  Or sleep with their phones switched off?

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox.

I rebooked, but now I can’t go until the very end of the run, by which time there will probably be a whole pile of spoilers out.  Ah well, such is life.

Since I was ‘all dressed up with no place to go’ I went instead to the South Bank, always good for a summer evening in London.   Because London really is full of cool places to go and things to do, and you shouldn’t let one little disappointment ruin your day.

 

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2 replies »

  1. sounds like a great idea, shame it was cancelled. hope round 2 is all the fun you hope it to be but as it is back to the future – you will get to relive this day again

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