Lyndsey Turner’s production of Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, was the fastest selling theatre show in London’s history. But for those who didn’t get tickets and didn’t want to queue in the early hours of the morning to get a ticket for £10, of which there were a handful set aside for each performance, National Theatre Live were broadcasting the play live to cinemas worldwide.
NTLive broadcast many big London theatre productions so far, including Simon Stephens’ ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ and Stephen Daldry’s ‘An Audience’.
It was an extremely slick and well produced production. The camera work arguably enhanced the experience, allowing you access to the nuanced facial expressions and emotions of the actors, not to mention allowing you to see the set and staging in detail. It was shot in ‘Sony 4K’, which is the highest resolution available currently; this meant that the quality of the image was top notch.
There have been criticisms of NTLive; people argue that it goes against what theatre has always been. However, NTLive are very aware of this, stating ‘We are passionate about preserving the live, communal experience and the sense of event through these big screen exhibitions.’ They are only shown a limited amount of times in order to achieve this, making the screenings a special event in themselves.
While the experience of live theatre cannot really be matched in terms of the adrenaline and excitement of actually being there, NTLive does a great job of striking a balance between accessibility and preservation of live theatre.
Upcoming NTLive cinema screenings to look out for include ‘As You Like It’ from 26th February 2016 and ‘A View from a Bridge’ from 26th March 2016.