It was a summer to remember for fans of Baz Luhrmann’s seminal 1996 classic; William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. Secret Cinema delivered a 5 star event in homage of the masterpiece, that brought all the glitz and glamour of the movie into stunning and vivid life.
August 2018 saw 3 weeks of shows in London. Secret Cinema, which specialises in creating groundbreaking immersive experiences like their Back to the Future and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back events, have finished their first outdoor summer festival, and apart from a few issues with the British weather, it’s safe to say Secret Cinema Presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet was a memorable experience for all who attended.
You can read my full, 5 star review of Secret Cinema: Romeo + Juliet here.
The sold-out, 12 night show saw nearly 5,000 people attend each night and around 60,000 people in total, placing the film back in the Box Office charts during the entirety of its run, and generating over £3m.
The festival saw a secret corner of West London transformed into the lush, stylised world of Verona Beach from Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 classic masterpiece and it featured a host of interactive elements including live bands, artists, DJ’s, Gospel choirs and plenty of surprises. The sets were stunning and the atmosphere was electric.
The Capulet Mansion swayed to the sounds of disco played by a troupe of dazzling drag performers and artists. This was a clear highlight of the production, with some amazing musical numbers and choreography to get us all in the spirit before the film itself was shown.
Montague Mechanics cranked with menacing scenes and meetings with underworld mob bosses, Queen Mab intoxicated individuals with a heady mix of enchanting performances and secretive splendour and Mariachi bands soundtracked the site with reinterpreted versions of 90’s classics.
Baz Luhrmann, Director and Producer of the 1996 film William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet comments:
“Secret Cinema continues to push the boundaries and has innovated the way that audiences want to engage and participate with their favourite films. Secret Cinema has created a whole new art form, and a new way of appreciating film and theatre.”
Matt Bennett, Creative Director, Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet agrees:
“It was a true honour welcoming Baz Luhrmann back to Sycamore Grove and to see how vividly his film aligned with our own world of fair Verona Beach. The themes explored in his version of Romeo + Juliet remain so relevant today, and Secret Cinema is proud to have brought to life such varied elements from the story; from love, music and 90s nostalgia all the way to the dark side of tragedy, youth violence and the urgent need for society to support young people facing inequality and exclusion.”
As with all Secret Cinema events, a bespoke local community engagement programme ran alongside the production allowing youth groups to experience the show through dedicated screenings and performances.
The show was also proud to partner with youth-focussed charity MAC-UK who work with troubled youngsters within their own communities suffering from exclusion, mental health, education and social issues. Secret Cinema ran a series of programmes, courses and creative activities in Ealing and Hounslow that empowered young people to address youth violence and the issues facing their peers, while at the same time addressing their mental health and wellbeing. The partnership with MAC-UK raised almost £30,000.
I can’t wait to see what Secret Cinema has up their sleeve next.