Secret Cinema – Back To The Future

So after months of planning costumes, collecting props and hundreds of emails (well what seemed like hundreds), the night of Secret Cinema finally was upon us. Luckily we had booked for the second week, so we weren’t effected by the early cancellations (thank God)  Those of us who’s were registered as ‘students’ were told it was mandatory to bring: A piece of homework, a stopwatch, a photo of you as a child, a photo of yourself now, a family photo, red or yellow rimmed sunglasses, a picture of your favourite movie star and finally 3D glasses. Pfft! I’ll admit making the homework was quite fun (added tea ring for authenticity), but it was a long list to complete. Please can we all note the length my boyfriend went to with his student gear (below) – two sets of homework, black and white photos, his identity cards printed on thick textured paper, and even a childhood photograph which he had edited to make it appear his brother was ‘disappearing’! A+ for effort. I also liked the ‘EG’ in a heart scribbled on the homework (my student name was ‘Elsie Glaze’) – very sweet.

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It was fun dressing up though, and when arriving at the meeting point of Hackney Wick it was lovely to see that everyone had gone the extra mile with their costumes. We walked and queued our way to the Olympic Park and once inside I was amazed at the sets Secret Cinema had created. You first made your way through Mr Peabody’s farm (complete with farm animals – I lovingly stroked a goat), where our group was whisked away by ‘Lorraine’ (aka Marty’s mum in Back To The Future) to go to her house. This was on a street made up of four of five houses which you could enter and have a nosy around. People were playing jump rope in the street and old vintage cars were driving by – one of which was ‘Biff’s’, where he would slow down and shout at you from the window. With help from the ‘no mobile phones’ rule, you really were transported back in time. The town square itself was amazing, with different shop fronts from dress shops to travels agents, where you could go inside to shop or to chat. They even had a small 50s cinema tucked away, and an 80s bar (incase you were sick of the 50s). Inside the high school you could attend the ‘Enchantment Under The Sea’ dance, and leave your homework in the lockers. Even Doc’s house had ‘blue prints’ for the Anish Kapoor sculpture that based at the Olympic Park, overlooked Hill Valley. 

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As much as I was loving the surroundings, what SC didn’t prepare us for were the queues. You had to queue for pretty much everything, meaning there was a lot of just waiting around – when really that time could have been used to go exploring. Another thing that I didn’t think was that great was the fact that on top of the hefty £55 entry ticket, you still had to pay for food, drink and even the fair ground rides! A bottle of wine was £20(?!), food was around £8, and the rides were £3, so you pretty much end up paying £100 per head for the whole experience. The food was delicious though, with ‘Lou’s Cafe’ selling Byron burgers, and other food carts selling hot dogs among other treats. We opted for pulled pork chilli and rice, which was super tasty. It was odd not being allowed to reach for my phone to snap some pics – especially seeing as I’m addicted to Instagram.. but this also gave a sense of freedom and permission to just enjoy yourself and not worry about the outside world. Disposable cameras were being sold around the town (of which you had to pay for, surprise surprise), but when developed, really did add to the vintage feel of the night. Dru who was with us got some lovely photos back..






Around 9pm we all settled down for The Hill Valley Parade which circled the Town Square. You were encouraged to join in (which we obviously didn’t), then the different characters boarded the stage in front of the clock tower (including around five ‘Marty’s’ and two ‘Doc’s’) and the Mayor gave a speech. Characters would act out iconic scenes along side the film – such as Marty holding onto the back of the moving truck, at which we cheered –  especially when the Delorean appeared through a cloud of dry ice! Doc hanging from the clock above us was another crowd pleaser. During a quiet part of the film we ran off to the ferris wheel, as we figured there wouldn’t be the mental queues that there were earlier. It was so much fun to hop right on and get the chance to watch part of the film from the air. It really felt like were all in it together, and truly a part of the Hill Valley community.. much better than sticking the DVD on at home! It was a really great night and I’ll definitely try and attend another Secret Cinema event.


+ Photos from: The SC facebook page / my own / /
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