On Saturday 2nd August, Hit The Floor went to the Secret Cinema‘s Back to the Future showing in London. With pictures being posted on the Secret Cinema’s Facebook Page and Event, the location disclosed across the internet and everyone knowing what film would be showing, very little was left to be revealed once there.
After a rocky start resulting in the first week’s showings cancelled, Secret Cinema really needed to pull something out the bag in order for the overall experience to be great. Unfortunately, we were left very disappointed, after spending nearly £60 a ticket.
With just a few actors (probably about 1 to every 100 people), a rushed “Hill Valley” town set, incomplete choreography, under-trained staff, a bad location and an over-crowded event, this Secret Cinema performance came nowhere near close to the standards set by previous ones. It appears as though Secret Cinema has sadly sacrificed quality for profit. One of the guys that we spoke to working in the hair salon there said “he had only been booked last minute” and didn’t really know what was going on.
Hit The Floor have put together this brief survival guide, to get the most of your Back to the Future experience.
1. Book your accommodation NOW
If you haven’t already, book your accommodation as close as possible to Hackney Wick/The Olympic Stadium. As we discovered, availability vanished and prices increased dramatically nearer to the event. We had intentionally held out, due to uncertainty as to whether the event would actually go ahead (following the first week’s disastrous cancellation).
2. Research available transport links
The tube in London closes around midnight and the last tube worth taking out of Hackney Wick is around 23:15 (if you plan on joining with other tube routes). If you are travelling across London for your accommodation, make sure you research this properly. Night buses run 24/7 but take a considerably longer amount of travel time. The show finishes at midnight, so you may need to duck off early.
3. Dress up
Nearly everyone at the event was dressed in 1950’s clothing. It’s advisable to make the effort, so you don’t look out of place. Try not to go as one of the main characters, such as Marty McFly or Doc.
4. Don’t bring food or drink, but bring cash
The ATM machines inside will charge you around £2.50 to withdraw cash, so it is advisable to draw some out before you go.
A can of Budweiser is £4 and this is for a very small can (like the ones you get on trains), a bottle of wine is £20 and cocktails £6.
Food is very expensive, with hot-dogs at £5 and something slightly more substantial at £10.
There are fair ground rides inside, but these are £3 a go (surprisingly not included!)
Do not bring food or drink with you, as this will be confiscated at the door.
5. Don’t bring a camera, unless it is disposable.
Phones and Cameras are taken from you at the door, in exchange for a unique number that you can use to reclaim it later. Only disposable cameras are allowed in the event, which you can purchase at the bars inside. There is a professional photographer there, but they charge £5 a photo.
6. Don’t bring the items on the list
Not one person we spoke to actually needed any of the items on the list. As a hair stylist, one of us was asked to bring some Brylcreem, a brush, a family photograph and “a photo of your favourite hairstyle”.
Following instruction to go straight to the salon (“your place of business”) on arrival, we went there and queried what we needed to do. One of us was sat down by the stylist and given a haircut. It wasn’t until after we were charged £22 for the hair cut, that we realised that not only was the identity useless here, but the hair stylist didn’t know what was meant to happen either, and apologised as “he was only invited last minute”.
7. Don’t eat at Lou’s Diner
While Lou’s Diner is the main place to eat there, a whole food court is available just behind it (to the left). Here, you will queue a lot less time for food either the same, or of better quality. If you go to Lou’s Diner, you will be queuing a long time. If you do want to eat here, it’s advisable to go during the film screening.
8. Get a good spot for the screening
The film starts at around 9pm, so get there at 8:30pm to secure a decent spot (or earlier if you can). Sit close to the front/sides to get the live action experience that accompanies the film screening. This happens on the road around the centre, as well as on the pathway that runs diagonally through it.
9. It doesn’t matter what time you arrive
When registering, you were asked to supply a time of arrival. Upon our visit to Hackney Wick, it didn’t really matter. You were just directed to the location where “Hill Valley” town was straight away.
10. Check out the “Hill Valley High School” before the cinema screening
The “Enchantment Under The Sea” prom is great fun!
We don’t want to reveal too much, but feel as though we’ve outlined the key facts, in order to get the most from your experience. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments. We really hope you get more out of the experience than we did.