Macbeth has just collared Banquo to discuss the premonitions brought to them by the witches. Could they possibly believe that the stuff of magic exists?
A fumbling crash and a thousand eyes darting to the side of the stage. A phone is conjured into the midst of 11th century Scotland. Much to the performers disgruntlement they quickly scoop up the device and after a roar of laughter from the audience, continue on with the scene.
This was a strange experience to take place within a play but stranger still that the culprit felt the need to attempt to take a picture of the experience in the first place.
Theatres generally work to a strong ‘no phones’ rule to ensure the audience is focused on the event unfolding in front of their eyes. It seems that this is also a growing trend within the immersive events industry. Organisers are instead using the alluring sense of mystery to generate sales to exclusive, immersive experiences instead of capitalising on the free advertising from social media posts by previous attendees.
Secret Cinema is paving the way in creating mesmerising cinema experiences. From start to finish the organisers create an epic build up to the event employing tactics like bespoke emails and exclusive teaser clips that makes its audience feel like it’s going to be something special.
Each tip-bit of information builds your curiosity and excitement for the event, but when you get there don't expect your social feed to be filled with idyllic Insta stories and Facebook timeline moments. Secret Cinema exercises a strict no phone policy. In the run up to a secret cinema event, you won’t be able to find any glimpses of previous events; you are encouraged to trust the organisers.
This assists you with your head-first dive into the world of these films. A truly immersive experience that is best shared with the people present. It also means the event is shared verbally with friends and co-workers over lunchtime chats, spreading the word like wildfire; it's just something you have to experience.
The level of regulation around social media also means the Secret Cinema pages reach higher numbers as people have to go to their owned pages for information and images. Only there can you look at what your colleague was bragging about with their nonchalant 'oh you had to be there' and purchase tickets on the same page - it's no surprise their ticket sales boom!
Despite the lack of social media buzz that usually gets people talking and leads to sell out shows, Secret Cinema has never failed to sell out within a few days of tickets going live. Why? The lack of phones and subsequent social media posts means that people’s intrigue gets the better of them. Secret Cinema has cornered the market in immersive experiences and social media won't be changing their ways them any time soon.
We thrive as social beings assisted by the development and addictive nature of social media and sharing. Perhaps the next step for Secret Cinema is a futuristic film where the blurring of phones, social media and reality go hand in hand with their immersive experience.
I for one am looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.