Last Updated on March 10, 2022
Experience Secret Cinema and Fever’s Bridgerton ball in Wembley
The social event of the season has arrived! Secret Cinema and Fever has brought the hit series Bridgerton from Netflix and Shondaland into a three-hour immersive fan experience, giving attendees the chance to delve into a world inspired by Bridgerton in a secret indoor location in Wembley, London.
Secret Cinema is a London-based entertainment company that specialises in immersive cinema experiences. From cult classics to new releases, films are brought to life around you in the world’s most spectacular spaces. Founded by Fabien Riggall in 2007, it used to conduct screenings at initially undisclosed venues in London, centered around interactive performances in immersive sets.
With over 70 productions to date, the screenings have grown in size and popularity, and Secret Cinema has decided to release the title to the audience beforehand and give event-goers their own narrative and to make sure hardcore fans of the film don’t miss out. Riggall says that the productions they put on are more comparable to shows in the West End rather than a cinema theatre, creating 360° participatory Secret Worlds where the boundaries between performer and audience, set and reality are constantly shifting. However, unlike previous experiences, only select scenes capturing the essence of underlying narratives in Bridgerton are played rather than watching the entire film alongside their live theatre counterparts.
Bridgerton is a Netflix distributed period drama series created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes. It is based on Julia Quinn’s novels set in the competitive world of Regency-era London Town during The Season when debutantes are presented at court. When the eight-episode first season debuted on December 25, 2020, it quickly became the most-watched series on Netflix at the time of its premiere and reached number one in 76 countries on Netflix.
We were invited along as VIP guests to this immersive event where the experience starts online at Lady Whistledown’s Finishing school. Guests are asked to choose their personal narrative, such as family background and values as well as a name. There are also optional styling tips and online dance lessons where you can learn the steps in advance to the dances at the ball. If you don’t have a costume, there are a variety of clothing and props available to purchase at their online shop. One practical and easy tip that I applied was tying a ribbon around my neck to make an instant choker.
Upon arrival, guests can take a photo before entering the experience, but phones are put into a Yondr Pouch which locks when it is closed. This means that while you can have your phone on your person, it isn’t usable as the pouch can only be unlocked by a staff member, and this can only be done during the afterparty.
When inside, a professional photo can be taken at La Maison du Ton, where you can also purchase any additional clothing or props that you have forgotten. Pat McGrath Labs can also take care of your make-up during a free five-minute primping session. Bespoke Pat McGrath x Bridgerton eyeshadow, highlighter and trio blush sets are also exclusively available to purchase at the location. It seems that almost all the guests of the ball put a lot of effort into their appearance but the location of the ball itself was also really spectacular. While the ballroom is not quite the level of luxuriousness that is presented on screen, it does make a very good effort. I found that the sets for the side activities were almost realistic, just as if I was stepping into the actual Bridgerton set.
The highlight of Secret Cinema Bridgerton and where most of the scenes take place is the main ballroom. It also has a string quartet playing re-imagined pop classics throughout the evening. Here, dance cards are welcome and dances take place around every twenty minutes, with actors helping you out with the simple choreography. I really enjoyed some of the dancing, especially when the steps didn’t involve many turns or kicks.
From time to time, the main actors from Bridgerton present scenes moving in perfect synchronicity with projected images reliving key moments from the series. However, scenes can also take place outside of the main ballroom. Some of my personal favourite scenes were reenacted like the scene where Daphne laughs at the Prince’s comment when he compliments her on her dress and when Simon and Daphne ask for a wedding license from the queen.
While previous Secret Cinema productions have actors lip-sync to the projected film, in Bridgerton the actors have lapels attached and recite the lines from memory. The lines are perfectly delivered with tones and accents very similar to the ones in the series. The casting was also quite good, although some better than others, with most of the cast bearing likeness to their onscreen counterparts. The costumes were also really exquisite, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the ones in the TV series, and some cast members undergo multiple costume changes.
Each guest’s personal experience of the event will differ in terms of their choice of side activity. Guests can choose to spend all their time on the dance floor, hang out at the artist’s lounge learning life drawing, chill at The Reform Club playing cards or training at the boxing club. Personally, I played a couple of rounds of blackjack and took a look at the magnificent pictures by artists at the artist club but spent most of my time in the ballroom.
Food and drink stalls were available throughout the experience, the only element that was not set in the Regency era. As a VIP, you get two drink tokens and one food token.
Finally, the afterparty plays DJ-ed music coming from the present day rather than the Regency era, giving a very clubby vibe so that you can party wild. If you’re a Bridgerton fan, you will definitely enjoy this experience as you get to live out your favourite bits of the series. If you haven’t seen the show, you might enjoy being thrown back into the Regency era and dressing up. Tickets are available at secretbridgertonball.com and prices start at £49 + booking fee. The experience is open every evening, from Tuesday to Sunday until 27th March 2022.
Secret indoor location in Wembley
Tickets from £49
Tuesdays – Fridays: 6:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 2:00 p.m. (No afterparty) and 7:00 p.m.
Sundays: 5:00 p.m. (No afterparty)
For 18+ with a valid ID