Secret Cinema cancels Back to the Future shows until July 31

PUBLISHED: 15:01 25 July 2014 | UPDATED: 09:46 28 July 2014

The Back to the Future preview of Secret Cinema has been cancelled

The Back to the Future preview of Secret Cinema has been cancelled


Secret Cinema have cancelled their Back to the Future events until July 31.

Secret Cinema bosses have finally explained the reason why the £50-per-head show had its first week cancelled with just hours’ notice.

Founder Fabien Riggall told the BBC he had been “fighting” to open but had not been able to meet the local authority’s technical requirements.

He said: “We’ve built an ambitious show and we weren’t able to get to the position in which we were able to open with the local authorities happy

“Secret Cinema is a very different kind of experience to a normal concert or show, and it has taken longer to demonstrate to [the authorities] so they are happy.

I completely and utterly understand how angry and frustrated people must feel. This is the first time in 10 years of doing these shows we’ve not been able to get there.”

Riggallpraised the team that put the show together: “We’ve got the most wonderful cast. We’ve got 80 actors, close to 80 set designers and dressers who’ve lovingly put the whole town into play.

I’m devastated that we didn’t get there, but it won’t stop me being ambitious. What it has taught us in a great way is that I’m never going to let this happen again.”



The PR company AR PR finally issued a statement that fans might find useful on Friday evening.

They said: “Secret Cinema Presents Back to the Future, is our most ambitious production to date out of the 45 large scale productions. Unfortunately, we have experienced some difficulties and have had to cancel tonight along with the remainder of this first weekend and plan to re-open next Thursday 31 July. We are hugely sorry for what we are sure will be extremely disappointing news.

“We would like to offer you tickets to another date, and should you not be able to attend you will receive a full refund for cancelled performances.”

Founder and Director of Secret Cinema, Fabien Riggall said, “ I am really sorry that this happened. We look to push the boundaries of what we can achieve in each production and this has been the most ambitious and complex production to date . We are very confident that all will be rectified by next week’s performance and this will be the most accomplished Secret Cinema yet.”

Fans were devastated when the opening night on Thursday was cancelled with just one hour’s notice.

It was an echo of the day before when the preview performance was cancelled, as revealed exclusively by London24.

The company is still refusing to tell anyone the reason.

London 24 contacted Newham Council for a response about whether it was licensing or health and safety concerns.

They refused to answer our questions, instead telling us that Secret Cinema would be responding on their behalf.

Disappointed fans have been scathing of the late cancellation and criticised the poor organisation.

To see a picture of how the set looks today, click here but beware of spoilers.

Today, people have been waiting anxiously to see if the event will go ahead, with many waiting to get on trains from around the country.

Some told how they had travelled from outside of London and even the UK, while others were attending the £55 event for special celebrations like anniversaries and birthdays.

@AnAutumnPerson tweeted: “£170 for tickets. £250 for hotel. £100 for train. Husband booked day off work @secretcinema #cancellation #secretcinema #disgraceful”.

Michael Botwright said: “Secret Cinema have clearly bitten off more than they can chew. This event hasn’t even started and the whole thing has been shambolic. Poor levels of communication from the get go. What a disappointment.”

The immersive-experience event sees participants dress up as characters from cult films and attend secret locations, with many spending hours researching their costumes and preparing ‘homework’.

At around 3.40pm yesterday Secret Cinema posted on Facebook an ‘urgent message’ which read:

“Due to unavoidable circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to receive guests at tonight’s show of Secret Cinema presents Back to the Future.

“We are devastated to make this announcement and sincerely apologise for having to announce it at this late a stage.

“We are working tirelessly to make sure that this spectacular event will go ahead tomorrow evening. We will be in touch at 11AM tomorrow morning with a further statement for all attending guests.”

In response, Kim Shaylor commented: “Do hope it includes compensation of babysitter, day off work, travel expenses, unneeded prom dress. Absolutely gutted!!!!”

They have promised that fans can reschedule their tickets.

Creative founder Fabien Riggall said in a statement: “We are devastated to have to make this announcement and we appreciate everyone who has made plans for tonight’s event. We are doing everything we possibly can.”

It had been due to take place at a secret location in Hackney, where Secret Cinema had built the town of Hill Valley “to transport audiences into a richly detailed imagined world.”

Richard Wyatt, who had a ticket for the preview and had spent around five hours researching and shopping for a costume for the event, told London24: “I’m absolutely gutted. I was really looking forward to it. One bloke said he’d shaved off his beard.”

One possible clue lay in a tweet from Fabian Riggall, the founder and creative director of the event. It was sent around 5.15pm on Wedensday, after fans reported receiving a cancellation email.

It was directed at @1MattTowell, who’s Twitter bio describes him as a theatre production manager. It simply said: “hi Matt, might you have a min for a call. I run secret cinema and would love a quick chat.”

It appears that the tweet has since been deleted.

Hackney Road has even seen a row of Back to the Future shops -Hill Valley Stores - pop up in anticipation of the event including Lou’s Diner and Roy’s Records.

Were you heading there? Email or Tweet @London24

Secret Cinema informed fans they can reschedule tickets by contacting See Tickets directly with your order number on the following address

If you’re all dressed up with nowhere to go, London24 has a great list of places with a fifties theme - to match your outfit - or an eighties theme to take you back to the film’s release. Some of them have even offered deals to disappointed Secret Cinema ticketholders!


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Newham Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Newham Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Newham Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Newham News Stories


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

United Kingdom

I am pleased that a second application to the London Legacy Development Corporation to permit the construction of concrete plants near the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was again turned down recently.

Sadiq Khan

What a mess! The fundamental challenge that Theresa May has is that the single biggest plank of her government’s policy is Brexit, yet she doesn’t believe in it and nor do three quarters of her cabinet.

European Union
Fri, 18:30

Meet the emergency team at the London Independent Hospital in Stepney Green who are on official standby for the World Taekwondo grand prix and World Para Taekwondo championships.


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Read more

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Read more

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now