National Theatre Live is the National Theatre’s groundbreaking project to broadcast world-class theatre to cinemas in the UK and internationally.
National Theatre Live launched in June 2009 with a broadcast of the National Theatre production of Phèdre with Helen Mirren. We’ve since broadcast more than fourty other productions live, from both the National Theatre and from other theatres in the UK.
Our broadcasts have now been experienced by over 5.5 million people in over 2,000 venues around the world, including over 650 venues in the UK alone. Past broadcasts from the National Theatre have included Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller; War Horse; Man and Superman with Ralph Fiennes; and Everyman with Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Broadcasts from other UK theatres include Coriolanus from the Donmar Warehouse; A View from the Bridge from the Young Vic; Macbeth from the Manchester International Festival; and Hangmen and The Audience from London’s West End. Our biggest single broadcast to date is Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch at the Barbican, which has been seen by over 550,000 people.
In 2014 the National Theatre recorded its first production on Broadway, Of Mice and Men with James Franco and Chris O’Dowd, captured at the Longacre Theatre.
Though each broadcast is filmed in front of a live audience in the theatre, cameras are carefully positioned throughout the auditorium to ensure that cinema audiences get the ‘best seat in the house’ view of each production. Where these cameras are placed is different for each broadcast, to make sure that cinema audiences enjoy the best possible experience every time.
Satellites allow the productions to be broadcast live to cinemas throughout the UK, as well as many European venues. Other venues view the broadcasts ‘as live’ according to their time zone, or at a later date.