The book presents a never-before-written case study of the UK-based organisation Secret Cinema – widely considered the leading provider of large-scale immersive experiences in the UK. They are used as a lens through which to understand the wider experiential economy. The book provides a comprehensive and encyclopaedic history of the organisation and its productions. It defines and examines the Secret Cinema format. It critically interrogates the work and operations of Secret Cinema as an organisation and analyses the many layers of audience experience. It combines rigorous academic study with practical industry insight that has been informed by more than fifty in-depth interviews with Secret Cinema practitioners and sector professionals who have worked on immersive productions in areas including performance direction, acting, video design, sound design and composition, lighting design, special effects, stage management, operations and merchandising. Framed within the context of the UK in late-2019, at which point the immersive sector had grown significantly, both through its increasing contribution to UK GDP and its widespread and global recognition as a legitimate cultural offering, we have captured an organisation and a sector that is in transition from marginal and sub-cultural roots to a commodifiable and commercial form, now with recognisable professional roles and practices, which has contributed to the establishment of an immersive experience industry of national importance and global reach. This book will appeal to scholars, students, film fans, immersive experience professionals and their audiences. It is written in an accessible style with rich case study materials and illustrative examples.
. 1.1 Immersive experience industry ecosystem model 2019. A model of the cultural and industrial ecosystem which supported the creation of immersive experiences in 2019. SC do not exist within a vacuum; as an organisation they are situated within the immersive entertainment sector that, in 2019, was considered to be one of the fastest growing sectors globally (see Immerse UK report 2019 and US reports from 2019 and 2020
Netflix series based on the same narrative universe. The SC experience was said to be: …. focused much more heavily on the ‘gamification’ of the guests’ experience than in previous mission-based Secret Cinema events … This experience differs from our more traditional format … Secret Cinema Presents Arcane is a two-hour intensive experience with a more intimate audience combining the best of immersive entertainment, escape room games and theatre. It is built upon layers of different games with some
of designing the rides, Barker explained how they gave him greater license to explore the aesthetics of horror cinema and the broader themes of his literary, painting, and theatre work, which he had arguably been unable to express when directing feature films. Barker was keen to emphasise the potential of the mazes for immersive entertainment, representing a different form of
Phantasmagoria lantern show was an immersive entertainment, his powerful new lanterns and uniquely sensitive screen suitable for back projection – marvels of contemporaneous science – were sited within the ruins of the Capucine Convent in Paris, 1799. The impact of the whole ruinous structure of a vast deserted ecclesiastical building was part of the collective visual experience for the audience. One of the
This is another distinctive feature of immersive entertainment: creative performance and operational logistics have to work simultaneously, hand-in-hand, across all aspects of the process and experience. We have observed this ourselves when attending events where stage management are in costume but their real function is revealed only through the presence of a communications headset or walkie-talkie. They deftly appear and disappear through hidden apertures as they manage scenes where performers are present. In Stranger Things , just prior to the appearance of the