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REVIEW: Secret Cinema presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back [Family day out]

Take your family to a galaxy far, far away (in East London) for a memorable day out

Posted: 27 July 2015
by Catherine Hudson

Secret Cinema present Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back [Photo credit: Camilla Greenwell]
[Photo credit: Marianne Chua]
[Photo credit:Paul Cochrane]
[Photo credit: Marianne Chua]
[Photo credit: Mike Massaro]
[Photo credit: Marianne Chua]
[Photo credit: Camilla Greenwell]

The most exciting things are often shrouded with a little mystery. Hence, the premise of Secret Cinema, where you purchase a ticket for a cinematic experience that you aren’t quite sure what to expect from, is rather tantalisingly.

What can we tell you?

Secret Cinema takes a film brand and creates an experiential performance before screening the film, or one of the films in a series. Last summer, the team created Back to the Future, which you may have heard news of, since it was a little delayed. This was due to the fact that the sets and costumes are recreated in such detail, that it took longer than expected to recreate a 1950s movie set town in East London...

However, the performance was such a huge success, and cinema fans were so delighted, that this summer Secret Cinema is presenting Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. And this time, they are ready.

The location: East London (sorry, we can’t reveal anything more specific; thems the rules!)

The dates: From 4 June - 27 September, 2015

How can I get involved?

You can buy tickets online, then you will be sent an email with codes and passwords, informing you of your 'role', directions and things you might like to bring along.

Why visit?

For Star Wars super fans and fans of the silver screen alike, this event is magical.  Personally, I hadn’t seen a Star Wars film until the day before (*squeal*), but with hindsight, I am glad I did. The sets are seriously jaw-dropping, and it was great to recognise things, places and characters I had seen. From the hull of a ship, to a sweltering desert Tatooine marketplace, every detail from buildings and transport to characters and props has been meticulously recreated. It is a brilliant way to introduce your family to a series of films you may have watched growing up. The sights, sounds and tastes fully immerse you in that galaxy far, far away…

There are plenty of ‘wow’ moments, but these are kept secret for you to find out when you visit. All we will say is prepare to be impressed by the sheer size and movability of what you will see and experience.

After spending time interacting with the sets and characters from the first film, you are taken to a giant screening room to watch The Empire Strikes Back, shown with elements of thrilling live theatre. Who doesn’t get excited by the arrival of a certain Dart Vader? Although it may be a little overwhelming for children of a nervous disposition, the whole experience is much more exciting than it is scary. Children must be over the age of eight to attend and must be accompanied by an adult.

What should we wear?

You are instructed to bring a scarf to cover your face (you are in character as part of the ‘rebel force’), but after that it is up to you how far you want to get involved costume wise. We saw fellow guests dressed as everything from storm troopers to Princess Leia, and lots of fans in Star Wars T-shirts. You might feel a little silly on the train ride there, but once you are inside, you will be glad you made the effort.

How much does it cost?

Authenticity doesn’t come cheap, and with larger sets and more detailed character costumes, the ticket prices have increased over the years for Secret Cinema performances.

An adult ticket (age 18+) for Secret Cinema presents Star Wars costs £75 and children's tickets (age 8-18) cost £50 each. Also, the food available in the markets is between £5 and £10, and they do take cards as well as cash.

Our favourite part?

Has to be those cheeky little Jawas who trade in circuit boards for spices and who will ‘steal’ your lightsaber in a flash. Don’t be shy, chase them for it – just don’t run into one of those lofty storm troopers… And may the force be with you!

Use the hashtags #secretcinema #rebelx to join in conversations on social media


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