Sarah Atkinson
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Helen W. Kennedy
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Secret Cinema as immersive activism
in Secret Cinema and the immersive experience economy
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This chapter captures a second turning point in the evolution of SC and its productions for three key, inter-related reasons. Firstly, the move into large, semi-permanent warehouse spaces increased the range of specialists who were required to design and manage the scale of these productions. Secondly, these new creatives brought considerable advancement to the narrative worldbuilding techniques and the sophisticated expansion of the now characteristic SC prequel narrative. Thirdly, SC founder Fabien Riggall’s increasing volubility in public and press accounts narrativised these experiences as responding to contemporaneous, real-world, socio-political issues. These three factors were instrumental in shaping the very real elaboration and evolution of the professional requirements and expectations of the SC format on one hand, and an attempt to shape the public corporate identity or ‘brand’ through which to communicate the value of their offer on the other. We combine an analysis of the five major warehouse-based productions of this period, the two outdoor events, numerous smaller-scale ‘X’ events, with a consideration of the many public interviews, appearances and presentations made by Riggall. Through this examination, we draw out the tensions that exist in the organisation’s communication of its corporate identity.

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