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Pompeii Live from the British Museum

Portrait of baker Terentius Neo and his wife. Pompeii, AD 55–79. © DeAgostini/SuperStock.

Exhibition news

THE BRITISH Museum has announced that Pompeii Live from the British Museum will be shown to over 1,000 cinemas around the world from end of August 2013.

In addition to the UK screening on June 18, venues from as far afield as Israel, India, China, Colombia, Malta and Norway will screen the special broadcast based on the British Museum’s hugely successful exhibition Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

In total the broadcast will be shown in over 1,000 cinemas in 51 countries outside the UK and Ireland covering every continent.

International distribution will be organized by More2Screen on behalf of the British Museum. Christine Costello, Managing Director and Co-Founder of More2Screen Ltd said:

“We’re proud to have been involved in many Cinema Event ‘firsts’ but it’s particularly pleasing and exciting for us to be taking a project as truly innovative as this to the global cinema market. The story of Pompeii and Herculaneum is one which has captured the imaginations of people of all ages, all around the world. Now, thanks to the BM’s bold initiative, audiences everywhere, from St Petersburg to Tokyo will be able to share in the wonders of history’s most fascinating stories at their local cinema”.

Ticket sales for the UK live broadcast on the June 18 are selling fast with 70% of tickets sold across 280 venues.

Pompeii Live at the British Museum offers a private view of the exhibition from the comfort of a cinema seat. Introduced by Neil MacGregor, it is presented by Peter Snow and Bettany Hughes in the company of expert contributors including Paul Roberts, Mary Beard, Rachel de Thame, Andrew Wallace-Hadrill and Giorgio Locatelli.

Pompeii Live at the British Museum will be a genuine innovation, the first time a 3D object exhibition will have been visualised for broadcast live via satellite. The Live will be broadcast at 7pm and will run for 80 minutes.

The evening premier will be followed the next day by a 60 minute live broadcast for schools showing in 220 cinemas at 11am on Wednesday, June 19. This is the first time any arts institution has presented a schools broadcast on this scale. This offers school groups studying key stage 2 and 3 the opportunity to visit their local cinema for a fun, interactive show which will see CBBC presenters Naomi Wilkinson and Ed Petrie take part in the live broadcast.

The evening event will be shown through all the major UK cinema groups including Cineworld, Vue, Odeon, Picturehouse, Empire, Curzon and Showcase as well as independent venues across the UK – all of whom have growing alternative content audiences. The Cineworld cinema group is showing Pompeii Live from the British Museum in 70 of its 80 screens across the UK and Picturehouse has sold 98% of its tickets to the live screening with a number of encore reruns already planned.

The 90 seater Hawkhurst Kino cinema, near Rye in Kent, has sold out the live screening with two further encore screenings already planned. The largest venue for the Live is the Malvern Theatre in Worcestershire which seats 800, with 60% of tickets sold at this venue so far. The Thurso Cinema, 20 miles from John O’ Groats, is the most northern screen to show the live broadcast. It is more than 100 miles away from the nearest cinema but has a thriving and committed audience for alternative content/event cinema.

The Live will be a truly UK wide phenomenon with screenings across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

The popularity of the Live is indicative of the success of the Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition. With over 260,500 tickets sold and 10,000 school places fully booked the critically acclaimed exhibition, sponsored by Goldman Sachs, has already reached its target with well over three months left to run. Pre-booked slots are extremely limited up to the end of July with 500 day tickets available on a first come first served basis.

Opening hours have also been extended where possible to release more tickets on any available weekend mornings and on Saturday and Friday evenings, details of which are available online. The unique live broadcast will enable the British Museum to share this ground-breaking and once-in-a-lifetime exhibition with the widest possible audience.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum said: “The British Museum is thrilled to produce and broadcast its live exhibition event. The Live will be a physical manifestation of our desire to share the British Museum’s unique content across the UK and the world. This kind of innovative broadcasting, unthinkable even five years ago has opened up new ways of sharing knowledge and accessing objects for adult and young audiences alike”.