Sneaking out of a dusty prison cell right under the nose of an Imperial guard on Tatooine – two little boys outsmart even notorious outlaws Han Solo and Chewbacca – who remain incarcerated. No, this isn’t an elaborate imagined game, it’s Secret Cinema’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, an experience cinema going on at a secret location in London this summer.
To be fair, by the time the kids have got to Tatooine, they’ve already been recruited into the Rebellion and told they must do whatever it takes to defeat the Empire. So really, flouting the rules and perhaps a bit of light pick pocketing are all for the cause to take out Darth Vader. But before you pack your family off for an adventure with Luke Skywalker, here are a few things you should know…
1. Is it suitable for children?
Yes – but they must be 8+. Although the grown-ups give the kids a good run for their money, it really is an 8-year-old’s dream come true. Not only are they in their favourite film of all time, but they get to interact with it. Ever wanted to play cards with Lando or trade for parts for Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder? Well now you can.
2. Dress up
You really have to fully submerge yourself in the experience to get the most out of it. So that means Leia plaits, X-wing pilot’s orange jumpsuits, Jedi capes and lightsabers. The standard of costumes is high, but even a desert scarf wrapped around your face to conceal your rebel identity will make you fit right in.
3. Get involved
Once you’ve arrived in your full Star Wars splendour, it’s crucial that you get into character straight away. Follow what the rebel leaders tell you carefully and take it deadly seriously – then by the time you leave earth you’ll be ready for whatever the galaxy throws at you. Once you’ve arrived at Tatooine, be prepared to talk to the actors – there are quests that will get you running around on secret missions and feeling like you’re a crucial part of the Rebel Alliance in no time.
4. Young Rebels will be singled out
In our group, whenever we needed a leader it was always the Young Rebel in the group that got the job. Make sure you listen to the instructions so you can help your child out with directions but don’t be surprised if your Padawan picks it up quicker than you do – this is their world after all!
5. It’s expensive
You have to really dig deep to get the family there – tickets are £78 for adults and £52 for children age 8-17. Once you arrive you’ll need cash for food and drink too – not to mention the tempting merchandise stalls selling everything from rebel patches to tote bags. But if you do fork out you won’t be disappointed. And your children are unlikely to ever forget the night they spent a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.