Event cinema organiser cancels weekend performances.

UPDATE: Secret Cinema has now cancelled the entire opening weekend of its Back to the Future production and will open on July 31.

In an updated statement, the organisation said: “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.

The show is going to be spectacular and we are working around the clock to ensure that all issues are ironed out as soon as possible in order to give ticket holders an incredible night.”

As before, refunds or exchange tickets have been offered to those with tickets for this weekend’s performances.

Original story: Secret Cinema, the immersive cinema event company, has cancelled the second consecutive night of its latest production, Back To The Future.

Its opening night was canned just a few hours before the show was set to begin in east London yesterday evening, disappointing around 3,500 ticketholders - each having paid £53.50. A preview night on Wednesday had also failed to go ahead.

As seemingly appropriate lightning storms raged over London, Secret Cinema has again been forced to pull the plug on its event, which is due to run over 24 nights until August 31.

In a fresh statement, just two hours before the production was set to begin, the organisation said: “Unfortunately we have no choice but to cancel tonight’s performance.

“Secret Cinema has been running safe arts events for 10 years and on this occasion we have come across a number of difficult issues. As you can imagine we are hugely disappointed and share the immense frustration you are all feeling.

“The site is finished and looking spectacular and we are working around the clock to ensure that all issues are ironed out as soon as possible in order to give ticket holders an amazing night. We would like to offer you tickets to another date. Should you not be able to attend you will receive a full refund for tonight’s ticket.”

Dates later in the run, between August 14-31, were put forward as alternatives.

Again, ticketholders reacted with anger on Twitter and Secret Cinema’s Facebook page. One commented: “I think a lot of people would appreciate it if you could just explain one thing…. why?”

Epic production

Secret Cinema promised its “most epic and detailed production to date” around a screening of the 1985 adventure classic, starring Michael J Fox, and shifted 17,000 tickets in the first four minutes of sale and sold out 42,000 tickets in four hours.

However, when tickets initially went on sale on June 4 the supplier could not cope with the demand and the sale was halted until the following day when Secret Cinema switched supplier to See Tickets, which handles major events including the Glastonbury Festival.

The run was extended to August 31 and more than 66,000 tickets have been sold to date. If all tickets are sold, it will hit 84,000.

It is not the first time Secret Cinema has had to postpone an opening this year. In April, it was forced to cancel the opening of the 20th Secret Cinema production just hours before its launch due to “licensing reasons”.

And performances of Brazil were called off in April 2013 after police objected to the licence application for the events.

Immersive experience

Secret Cinema presents Back to the Future has seen the fictional town of Hill Valley constructed at a secret location in London. Audiences will wander between 1955 and 1985, and navigate secret alleys and entrances in the town that will allow them to travel to the heady future of 2015.

As in previous outdoor productions such as Dirty Dancing, Grease and Top Gun the event will follow an interactive format of immersing audiences into the world of Back to the Future and Hill Valley in the first half of the evening followed by a screening of the Robert Zemeckis film that includes “extra experiential surprise elements”.

A Battle of the Bands contest will determine who will play on stage each night, as well as a secret headline high profile band. The famous ‘Enchantment under the Sea’ Prom dance will take place at an after party venue near the secret location.

Audience participation will feature heavily throughout each event, with audiences becoming characters inside Hill Valley, zipping between the worlds of 1955 and 1985.