'Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.' - Stephen King
Secret Cinema presented Frank Darabont's 'The Shawshank Redemption' at the Cardinal Pole School, in the east end of London. The production transformed the space, which was first a Huguenot Hospital then a Catholic School, into the world of the Shawshank Prison.
Following weather reports of an incoming storm, the State of Oak Hampton experienced an unprecedented crime wave. Norman Taylor, the recently appointed Head of Justice, vowed to clamp down on vicious crimes putting over 13,500 citizens into prison.
Citizens were called to the Oak Hampton State Court, sentenced for their crimes and taken in Prison Buses to be admitted into one of the worst Penitentiaries in the country.
A photography journal can be found here. The press filed these reports. Those who took photos while inside, be part of the secret photo competition by submitting your photos here. The best photo will win a pair of tickets to the next Secret Cinema.
Following a strict admission procedure, convicts were introduced into a terrifying and brutal world. Prisoners learnt to survive by connecting with other convicts, passing secret notes between those they could trust, bribing the guards for illegitimate library cards and finding inspiration through cultural means.
Some of the offenders staged secret concerts. Mercury Prize nominated Sam Lee held an underground performance in the secret spaces all over the prison.
Andy Dufresne led a revolt by taking control of the Prison tannoy system, playing the Marriage of Figaro, the beauty of the music could be heard by every soul in Oak Hampton. This rebellion roused the convicts to open their ears and eyes to song, and art and cinema. Hope was awoken inside the state penitentiary walls at that moment.
The official state dinner held by the glamourous Denise Van Palin, private Secretary to Phillip W Romney, was in full swing each night with special guests attending the Secret Restaurant and taking part in tours of the prison and Secret Gallery. Some of the convicts did not make parole resulting a longer stay as part of the Secret Hotel.
Secret Cinema is hugely thankful to its partners. Over 500 letters have been written to writers who have been imprisoned in an infringement of their human rights in partnership with PEN International, Amnesty International helped us by showing us real cases of injustice in prisons into the world we created, Stella Artois provided bottles of Ice Cold Suds, Foyles helped build the prison library, Penguin Classics provided paroled inmates with a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo, Hackney Council facilitated our use of the incredible building and Tower Hamlets Idea Store helped us transform Bethnal Green Library into The State of Oak hampton Court House. Thank you to the local residents and businesses of Victoria Park for your support and participation. Thanks to cast, crew and partners listed here and below.
FUTURE CINEMA PRESENTS THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION opens in January 2013. Stay alert for more information. Confirm your interest by sending us your favourite quote of the film here.
Secret Cinema returns in April 2013 in London, New York and Athens.