We’re actually somewhere near Barbican in a reclaimed factory building for the latest Secret Cinema event – the screening of a film noir classic.
Tonight it becomes a transformative playground through experiential and set design, put together by Future Cinema.
For the unacquainted, Secret Cinema culminates in a film screening, but not before the locations, sets, characters and even plot are extrapolated and interpreted through music theatre and live performance.
There’s a playful and adventurous authenticity about the design. Constantly in-character actors double up as variously, period bar staff – one of whom passed Design Week a coded book – bureau de change clerks and military personnel who interrogate Design Week.
Real and mocked-up period pieces are conflated in completely constructed zones and rooms, but in the spirit of the event we’re asked not to give too much away.
Secret Cinema creative director Fabien Rigall says he is always looking to interpret ‘how an audience will step into and engage with a building, how it flows for the audience and defines the path they’re going to take.’
Indeed there are endless permutations of your evening, depending on which rooms you enter, which narratives you get drawn into and who you talk to.
An extended team of 140 people work on each production with a core team of 40 people including a performance designer Helen Scarlet O’Neil, set and installation designers, and an art department – which for this production is joined by 10 BA St Martins Students working towards their degree.
At the end of the night depending where you might have ended up, there are five separate screening points, which start running simultaneously and will relate in some way to your own journey.
Well before guests had even set foot on the site though, Rigall had begun online activity to fuel the clandestine intrigue, which had guests taking photographs and sending letters, some of which would appear on-set on the night. Meanwhile there was facebook character interaction.
Not shy of ambition the team also launched Secret Cinema in Kabul, Afghanistan, to coincide with the opening night of the latest London event last week.
Secret Cinema’s London production runs until 22 January. For more information go to www.secretcinema.org/tickets