By Miranda Schiller @mirandadadada
Secret Cinema has always been about more than film, with its screenings being immersive events and a different experience for every visitor. This year, they are expanding even further afield, into retail and nightclub territory. You can get into the mood and stock up on costume parts and accessories at the RebelX store in Shoreditch, a pop-up shop just off Brick Lane, and try your costume out at the related nightclub open to all bearers of a Secret Cinema ticket. The secrecy has somewhat diminished compared to their early endeavours: The film is known (it’s The Empire Strikes Back), the location of the shop is known and open for all. The nightclub is more exclusive than secret, with only ticket holders being admitted.
The RebelX Store can give you a bit of a taster of what to expect if you’re unsure about splashing out £78 for a ticket. More than a shop, it is a little outpost of the Secret Cinema Star Wars world. There is a spaceship basement with one galactic and one Moroccan themed changing room, the décor looking professional enough to create a world to immerse oneself in, but homemade enough to feel comfortable with your own homemade costume, or limited Star Wars knowledge.
There’s a Tatooine-inspired Moroccan Garden in the backyard, where you might be treated to a professional massage or Henna Tattoo on a weekend day – the Star Wars link is shaky, but it’s a lovely place to relax and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Brick Lane area on the weekend.
We won’t give the location away, but let’s say it’s safe to assume that just like the store, a secret pop-up nightclub will be somewhere in East London. You will get directions and a password once you sign up for the nightclub, where you’ll be greeted by a mischievous Jawa entertaining the queue. Phones are required to be turned off and heat-sealed in a bag, to make sure you don’t sneakily turn it on again. A procedure that more nightclubs should adopt, as it makes it a lot easier to delve in and get involved in the action, taking away the temptation to document or communicate with the outside world. Expect to at least have your drink stolen by an intimidatingly hooded and armed scavenger (don’t worry, you’ll get it back), to be approached by otherworldly creatures admiring the touch of your hair, or to be engaged in lively conversation in a language completely unknown to you. And do go and explore the rest of the building, there are lots of little spaces and places to discover beyond the bars and the dance floor.
Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back is going to be screened from 4th June to 27th September. The nightclub is open to ticket holders from Thursday to Sunday and there are secret live bands and DJs performing every night. Tickets are still available at www.secretcinema.org.