I was sent instructions to turn up at a location in the East End at an appointed time. There I met my defence attorney and was then shuffled up to meet the judge for sentencing. I was given a 4 year sentence, no discussion.
Then I was herded onto the prison transport by some nasty prison guards and driven to the Oakhampton Penitentiary. Abuse, abuse and more abuse along the way.
When we get there, we are made to strip, more abuse and then we are marched with our hands on our heads in a single file into our cells.
The nightmare was just beginning. In our cells we put on our prison garb and are then herded out and marched out again to the canteen.
The “prison” had hundreds of inmates wondering around and nasty prison guards at every turn.
This was the Future Cinema (Secret Cinema) production of Shawshank Redemption and it really was a truly immersive experience. Scarily realistic situations, especially the nasty prison guard shouting in your face and some inmates singled out for punishment.
We got on the latest bus going to the secret venue so didn’t really have that much time to look around the “prison”. There were lots of actors playing the parts of guards and inmates and some were really enjoying their role dishing out punishments and the abuse of power.
Around the building, there were lots of rooms set up for “reeducation” like life drawing and candle making.
Watching the film with hundreds of “inmates” in character gave the movie a surreal effect. The audience were really getting into it, booing and hissing at the baddies and a big cheer when he escaped. A terrific atmosphere. I’ve seen The Shawshank Redemption several times and it doesn’t diminish in brilliance each time. It is still a stunning performance by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. A real classic.
That was a really surreal way to spend a Saturday evening but totally unique too. Can’t wait to see what other films they will do next. It’s totally bonkers but really fun.
Future Cinema have a couple of productions on offer right now. Casablanca and Shawshank Redemption and you can buy tickets on their site.
Here is a tip if you do go, follow the instruction on the email to a T, you won’t regret it.
My London Guide was a guest of Future Cinema.