Secret Cinema’s Back to the Future

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The one photo we got of ourselves dressed up before we had to ditch our phones and cameras!

Last weekend my little sister and I dressed up in our 50s finest and headed down to a secret East London location to immerse ourselves in Secret Cinema‘s newest and biggest ever event: Back to the Future. If you’re unaware of the cult of SC, it takes the fad of outdoor cinemas and turns them into incredible experiences that make you feel as though you are actually in the film itself. You may have seen when I went to the Dirty Dancing screening hosted by sister company Future Cinema, where the whole of Kellerman’s Holiday Camp was recreated for us to wander around before settling down to watch the film itself, we had an amazing time!

This time around, Secret Cinema have rebuilt the town of Hill Valley, the home to our favourite time traveler since The Doctor, Marty McFly. The level of detail is incredible, with a whole town square featuring real shops you can peruse and businesses you can get involved with. I won’t go into loads of detail as it is after all, a secret. We weren’t allowed to take cameras or phones in so I have no pics to share with you, so instead I’ve got some top tips for how you can make the most of your visit to 1955.

1) Go in fancy dress
You may feel stupid wearing it on the tube there, but you’ll feel even more stupid when you get there and realise you are the only person in a crowd of about 600 not wearing it.


2) Take a waterproof rug to sit on
The main seating area is astroturf and a standard rug will retain any rain that has fallen that day to make some uncomfortable sitting.


3) Take layers!
We took coats and blankets to keep us warm when the film started around 9pm. You don’t have to cart it around with you all evening though, which leads to point four…


4) Claim your spot earlyPut your rug down (take something to weigh it down too or it’ll blow away in the wind) and leave your non-valuables in your place. It gets pretty crammed there and if you leave it too late you’ll be sat at the back or squeezed into a tiny spot next to the one guy who’s never seen the film and keeps asking why Doc has a car instead of a police box.


5) Invest in the cardboard chairs
They are only £5 and allow you to sit up comfortably for the whole film. Genuinely the best thing I bought there and I’ll be keeping it for future outdoor cinema experiences!


6) Interact with the actors
The production has 100+ actors ‘living’ in Hill Valley. We had a great chat with Goldie Wilson in Lou’s Diner about how he has big ideas beyond being a waiter, and spoke with locals about the ‘storm’ that was going to hit the town that night. If you love the film as much as I do, you’ll be able to think of an alias pretty quickly and it makes it so much more fun.


7) Cheer, applaud, quote-a-long. Get involved!

When the film is on and the actors are doing some amazing stunts right in front of you, show your appreciation. When the warm-up actors come on beforehand, do the dance routines they teach you. Don’t just sit down, have fun!


8) Take a watch
With no phones allowed I had no idea what the time was for the whole evening.


9) Buy a disposable camera
Turns out these are allowed in 1955. They sell them on set, but I didn’t see them, I only found out from a friend afterwards. I’m gutted I didn’t realise, especially as my sister paid to get some 50s style victory rolls done in her hair and they looked amazing, but we don’t have any proof!


10) Keep your eyes open
Once we’d settled down on the rug about an hour before the film was even due to start we kept seeing characters from the film walking past us. Lorraine and her friends skipping through the crowds, Biff and his mates causing havoc, Marty looking confused and bewildered as he walked through the town square.


Despite the teething problems reported and the fiasco trying to buy tickets, this production was really worth the money. I’m so glad we went and luckily for you, there are still tickets available to two final dates on the 21st and 28th August. In the words of Doc Brown, “You’re gonna see some serious shit!”


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