Post written by Emma Shamone
Stripped of my identity and shoved into a locked cell with strangers, was prison life really something I had signed myself up for? Kyle was my new name, and murder was my speciality.
It all started in Bethnal Green Library; here I was – as directed by my ‘court summons’, dressed in a suit and tie, with long johns underneath. Next thing I knew, I found myself standing awkwardly before an obnoxious judge who would sentence me for my crimes.
Ordered to join a line of convicts destined for the same anonymous location, we were marched to a 1950′s bus with blackened windows and stainless steel bumpers. Curious passers-by watched us a set off into the unknown. Less than 20 minutes later we arrived at an old abandoned school. Here we were ordered to strip and issued our mandatory prison uniforms. Marched through prison showers bare foot, and stunned by the sites of naked inmates fighting – we were led to our cells. I was now a prisoner, and my new identity was an exciting one.
By now it was apparent to me that the movie I was to see was none other than The Shawshank Redemption. Immersed in the amazing world of Secret Cinema– it was easy to forget that this new world was a make believe one. This was an experience which allowed us, as the audience, to become part of the narrative – we were able to experience the sheer brilliance of live music, theatre, cinema and food; all incorporated into one fantastic finale. Admittedly, before really experiencing Secret Cinema – it’s easy to be put off by the price. At £50 a pop, it really is on the pricier side, but all in all I must say it is a truly unique experience and one that has provided me with some excellent memories.
If you’re keen to impress on a first date – this really is the perfect opportunity to do just that. Alternatively, if you’re seeking something a little different to the norm, get yourself along to Secret Cinema.
The event that I participated in provided me with the opportunity to really lose my own identity and give life to my new character. Kyle. Here we were, in an eerily abandoned building that time had forgot. We navigated ourselves through a maze of dark stairways and dimly let corridors, through rooms of well played out scenes and interactive tasks – from candle making to playing the role of sick inmates in the infirmary. We were abused by loudmouthed guards and rubbed shoulders with nurses who were quick to issue us our ‘medicine’, in the form of contraband whiskey and other delicious alcoholic beverages. At various points throughout the night, staff in character would burst into song and dance and the whole audience would join in. The ambience was electric, we were no longer strangers standing awkwardly before a judge, no longer office workers, policemen or cleaners – we were now prisoners, bonded by the plight of incarceration, ready to indulge in the closing finale, eager to take our seats and watch the Shawshank Redemption…. Before plunging back into reality.
If you would like to experience and be a part of Secret Cinema then visit their website via the links below. Register to receive upcoming information on performances & dates. Tickets usually sell fast so be sure to get in there early!
The next screening is of Dirty Dancing.
Secret Cinema website
Secret Cinema Future shows
Emma & Barbara awaiting their fate
Author Bio: This post was expertly written by The Lost Londoner’s newest writer Emma Shamone. She is a fan of the unusual and likes to go hunting for London’s hidden treasures. From Emma you can expect anything but ordinary and I thank her for sharing her Secret Cinema experience.
Photography courtesy of Secret Cinema
For more upcoming events and alternative things to see and do in London be sure to follow The Lost Londoner on Twitter or Google+ – Updated daily.