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NT Live

  • Date: 21 August 2009
  • Artform: Theatre
  • Area: London, National
Helen Mirren in Nicholas Hytner’s production of Phédre by Jean Racine, in a version by Ted Hughes, part of NT Live Helen Mirren in Nicholas Hytner’s production of Phédre by Jean Racine, in a version by Ted Hughes, part of NT Live, Catherine Ashmore

Arts Council England is supporting a groundbreaking initiative that broadcasts live performances of plays to cinema screens around the world.

NT Live is a series of four live plays from the National Theatre in London, broadcast to 230 cinema screens in the UK and worldwide. It launched on 25 June with Nicholas Hytner’s production of Phédre by Jean Racine, in a version by Ted Hughes. Helen Mirren plays the title role, with Dominic Cooper and Margaret Tyzack also leading the cast. 

It will be followed on 1 October by Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well with Clare Higgins; and, in early 2010, Nation, based on a novel by Terry Pratchett, adapted by Mark Ravenhill; and Alan Bennett’s new play The Habit of Art with Michael Gambon, Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour.

NT Live performances will be filmed live at the National Theatre in high definition and broadcast by satellite to 60 cinemas, reaching a widespread audience across the UK. The National is working with the Picturehouse, Odeon and Cineworld chains and a range of independent cinemas and arts centres. Over 170 venues around the world including venues in the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Scandinavia and Europe, will also screen the performance.

‘The NT Live events are designed to bring what we do on the stages of the National to a far greater number of people than we would ever be able to reach otherwise,’ says director Nicholas Hytner. ‘We’ve been thrilled by the response of cinemas around the world to this new experiment. It means we can reach tens of thousands of people in addition to our work in London and on tour.’

NT Live is funded in partnership with Arts Council England and NESTA.

For a list of participating locations and ticket information visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

Download the NT Live case study.