London’s premier immersive experience, Secret Cinema (“SC”) is back with its latest show, Baz Luhrman’s 2001 musical spectacular “Moulin Rouge!”. Past productions such as “Back to the Future”, “Star Wars” and “Shawshank Redemption” have been thrilling audiences for a number of years now and SC has never been afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to submerging guests in the narrative of their favourite movies. I have tallied up a fair amount of visits (fourteen different shows in total) so you might say I am somewhat of a SC fan! Want to see what it’s all about? Check out some of their past shows here!
If you are a SC virgin or have an upcoming ticket to “Moulin Rouge”, then here are some of my top tips on how to get the most out of your visit!
1. Buy tickets and find a great group of people to join you!
The first step is to purchase your tickets via https://www.secretcinema.org/tickets/.
The show is running from now until April 30th so if you think this event could be up your street, book ASAP to avoid disappointment as many of the shows have already sold out.
There are three tiers of tickets that you can choose from depending on what kind of experience or budget you require:-
- Creatures of the Underworld | Regular access to the experience and limited unallocated seating on the dance floor
- Children of the Revolution | Regular access to the experience with unallocated seating in the balcony
- Aristocrats | Priority access to the venue plus food and drink and allocated seating in the balcony. Basically the real deal, VIP treatment
My friends and I went for a Creatures of the Underworld ticket and had the most incredible time. We were always surrounded by the action, and even though we had to sit on the floor, we felt we could see the movie screen really well and felt like a part of the beating heart of the Moulin Rouge!
The two friends I went with had been to SC before, so they knew the drill and 100% got into the spirit of the night. When asking friends to join you, make sure they are comfortable to dress up and feel ready to fully immerse themselves into the fun. Of course, this isn’t compulsory but I strongly believe that everyone gains more out of the experience by allowing the freedom to get into character. We had the perfect group for this!
2. Your character and the Society of Love
So, you have got the date in the diary and your tickets have been purchased. Now it is time to find out what character you are going as, what costume you have to wear and the whereabouts of the secret location you will need to arrive at (all I can tell you is that it is within Zone 2/3 and just a short walk from the tube).
Once you have received your email from The Society of Love, you will need to register your group. Each person will receive their own identity with a background story and specific costume to wear. It is important that you do this, as it will make you recognisable by other characters and actors at the venue.
My character was Katherina Schratt, a struggling prostitute with ambitions to be a courtesan (classy bird). Other occupations include dancers, comedians, fashion designers and more!
Learn your story as it could come in handy once you get to Montmartre! To assist in the build up to your visit, join the social networks, use #societyoflove and flirt wildly with your peers by sending secret messages to other characters attending (you can do this via Facebook, Instagram etc and via the members menu, below). This is all a part of creating social encounters in the Moulin Rouge and allowing the stories to come to life.
3. The perfect costume
Once I knew my character and the guidelines for my costume, I decided to go’all out’ and investigated hiring a professional costume. There are some brilliant options in London but make sure you schedule an appointment prior to your fitting.
The quality of my hired outfit was reminiscent of an actual movie costume and the craftsmanship on my bolero and hat, in particular, was beautifully detailed. If you are choosing to hire, it isn’t the most economic option for getting decked out Moulin Rouge style, but if it is a special occasion, it is worth the extravagance.
SC have their own online boutique which specialise in bespoke burlesque and fantasy couture and caters brilliantly for each indivudual character’s needs. All you might call for is here, from feathers to corsets, you will get it all under one online roof via https://www.auchicparisien.org/.
4. Pre-drinks and photo opportunities
The big day is here! You are dressed to the nines and ready for your evening of light debauchery in Montmartre and beyond, however, no photographic devices are allowed in the venue so you will need to take those all important Instagram shots before you go inside (more on that below).
Pre-drinks are a nice way to get your group altogether and take some fun pictures before heading to the show. The lovely Zoe was staying at the Citizen M Hotel, Tower Hill which boasts a cute rooftop bar overlooking The Tower of London and London Bridge, so we headed there, grabbed a bottle of prosecco and played around with the camera whilst enjoying epic views of London.
After bottle #2 and some major Lady Marmalade homages, we were ready to take on the night. Due to our lack of attire, and it being February, we booked a taxi to the secret location in East London. As I mentioned before, it is very close to the Underground if you are arriving by tube.
5. The big event
Finally, you have arrived. Get ready to sing, dance and fall in love.
Once you see the “Tour Eiffel” illuminated in red, white and blue, you will know that you have arrived at your destination. You will be guided to the entrance by staff and handed a pouch in which to place your phone. You must keep your phone in the pouch for the duration of your stay and it shouldn’t be used until you leave at the end of the night.
My advice would be arrive 10 minutes earlier than your suggested arrival time as the queue can get quite long. This is due to the necessary security and bag checks upon entry. There is also a cloakroom if you would like to hand in any coats or in my experience, Polaroid Cameras which do not slip into the pouch!
Not having access to your phone is such a nice release and allows yourself to be completely immersed in the story. It is a brilliant idea and I wish more events followed SC’s example. Particularly gigs (Live in the moment people! No one cares if you have videos of Drake doing One Dance at the O2 on your phone. You will probably never watch them again anyway, so it is just a waste of iPhone storage space. Furthermore- I certainly don’t want to see your screen instead of the stage if I am stood behind you too… rant over but I hope you can understand my frustration).
Given that this is called “Secret Cinema”, I wouldn’t want to spoil the epic surprises that await, however here are my final tips once you enter the premises.
- This is a no cash zone.If you would like to purchase anything once inside, only bank cards are accepted. I tried to use my Amex but some machines don’t accept them so bring alternatives.
- Don’t eat before you come. There are some delicious themed street food options available.
- The cocktails are yummy but short lived. I would recommend ordering a bottle of wine to share between the group during the screening so no one has to miss the action!
- Try to interact with the actors as much as you can. They enjoy it when you do and can lead you to some exciting secret experiences. The more you play along, the more fun you will have.
- Release your inhibition! Baz Luhrman’s “Moulin Rouge!” lends itself perfectly to immersive theatre. Open your eyes and take the time to appreciate the outstanding detail SC brings to this venue. You will be amazed at the authenticity of the venue and will feel as though you have been transported to 1899 Paris. The SC team have outdone themselves this time and in my opinion, is their best show yet!
So what are you waiting for? If you are looking for truth, beauty, freedom, love…head to http://www.secretcinema.org/tickets to see what the buzz is about. If you are in or visiting London, you won’t want to miss this.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful.
Please comment below if you would like any further details, have been to this event and want to share your experience or if you just enjoyed the post!