Rebel Bingo comes to Mecca hall
PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 September 2015 | UPDATED: 10:47 24 September 2015
From playing an “accidental” basement game of bingo to hosting parties for thousands of people worldwide, the Rebel Bingo team have been on an epic journey.
The event has gained global fame for reinventing a game most often associated with the elderly by bringing in DJs, fun prizes and saucy comperes catering to a trendy crowd, looking for an alternative night out.
Founders Freddie Sorensen, 37, and James Gordon, 38, said the show took a life of its own.
Freddie said: “It happened by accident really. We used to put on parties in a church hall in Exmouth Market and one night when we were cleaning up we found a bingo kit stored in the basement. We started messing around with it and by the end of the night we were playing a game called Rebel Bingo. It was fun so we decided to turn it into a show in the church hall a week later. We never had a plan for it, it just kind of took on a life of it’s own and we just followed it.
“Our lives changed that night. We feel it was more like bingo found us than we found bingo.”
He continued: “It brings people together. Rebel Bingo is a powerful force. It’s not just a game, it’s a movement. People feel part of something. It’s social. It’s dramatic. It’s intense. It’s competitive. It’s emotional. It has everything. So long as you have your family, your friends, and Rebel Bingo, you have everything you need in life.”
With its combination of warehouse-rave atmosphere, and its nail-biting game sessions, it is not surprising that Rebel Bingo has caught the attention of traditional Bingo bosses, Mecca.
After years of being underground, now the event is unfolding for four days in at an actual branch of Mecca Bingo in an effort to bring in new clientele and sprinkle some “rebel magic” in the wake of the increase in halls closing every year.
Freddie said they were inspired by anyone who puts on an entertaining show, with influences as wide-ranging as Freddie Mercury, Slipknot and Katy Perry.
“We also grew up watching a lot of 80s game shows like The Price is Right and Play Your Cards Rights so there’s influences from those - anything that creates drama. We like drama. But we don’t like it to be too complicated: so, simple drama. Then we take all those huge influences and try to recreate that drama with a budget of £68.
“It’s taken a few years to get to this point, but we’re really excited to be doing Rebel Bingo in a real bingo hall”, he added.
The team are also responsible for hosting club night, The End of the World Party, which, as the name suggests, encourages attendees to party like it’s their last night on earth.
Freddie said: “Rebel Bingo is all consuming. It requires a lot from us. It’s a fickle beast. It’s like running a cult. So it’s really hard work. The End of the World Party is about release. It’s about getting it all out, so one feeds into the other. They are both fun though.”
Of Rebel Bingo, he added: “The highlights are the adventures and the shows themselves. The energy on the night and people telling us they had a good time and the people who get really into it. That’s what makes it worth it. The challenges are never having any money, receiving deliveries, unreliable people, VGA cables, constant emergency DIY, and sweating too much.”
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