National Theatre’s NT Live Project Is Outstanding Success

The National Theatre’s NT Live project – which broadcasts live theatre performances direct from London’s National Theatre to cinema screens all around the world – has been an outstanding success.

The original pilot scheme to screen performances from four National Theatre plays has been extended and will now broadcast Dion Boucicault’s sell-out comedy of manners ‘London Assurance’ on June 28th before the pilot scheme closes. A second series of NT Live is planned to begin this Autumn.

Sir Nicholas Hytner, artistic director of the National Theatre said that the broadcasts allow tens of thousands of people to see a production, rather than the 900 or so who can attend the National Theatre. The original project has seen ‘Phedre’, ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’, ‘Nation’ and the most successful to date , Alan Bennett’s first new play for five years ‘The Habit of Art’. The broadcasts also feature behind-the-scenes interviews with the actors and directors.

Cinemas have signed up to the scheme across the length and breadth of the UK while screenings have taken place at over 200 venues abroad including Australia, the USA, Estonia and Mexico. More countries are signing up, recent additions being Spain, Germany and Hawaii.

Dates for the live broadcast are planned in advance to allow cameras freedom in the auditorium. The cinema viewer is placed right on stage in the heart of the action and it’s possible to see details on screen which would be missed from the theatre auditorium.

Each play is nominated one live broadcast, although ‘The Habit of Art’ was so successful that it was repeated at selected cinemas across the UK. The international broadcasts are timed to be as close as possible to their UK counterparts.

The autumn season will include Nicholas Hytner’s own production of Hamlet and Danny Boyle’s adaption of Frankenstein, which will mark his return to the theatre after a fifteen-year absence.

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