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Helen Mirren's The Audience breaks cinema broadcast record

Story by Jack Foley

A LIVE cinema broadcast of acclaimed Helen Mirren play The Audience has broken viewing records for such productions.

Screened on June 13, 2013, as part of NT Live – the National Theatre’s ground-breaking project to broadcast the best of British Theatre live from the stage to cinemas across the UK and around the world – the broadcast was seen by nearly nearly 80,000 people in the UK and 30,000 people in North America.

A delighted David Sabel, executive producer of NT Live, described the figures as “very exciting”, adding that while a big audience had been anticipated, “it’s turned out even greater than expected’‘.

There will now be more cinema screenings of the play, with nearly 800 in the UK and 700 in North America throughout the summer.

The National Theatre Live programme began four years ago with a screening of Phedre, which also starred Dame Helen.

Eight shows a year are broadcast to cinemas around the world, using multiple cameras, tracking shots and close-ups. A total of 25 countries now participated, with the number of participating cinemas having risen from 280 to 700.

National Theatre Live’s fifth season will include Othello, starring Adrian Lester and directed by Nicholas Hytner, and Macbeth with Kenneth Branagh. These will be followed, in 2014, by the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Coriolanus as well as War Horse.

Stephen Daldry’s sell-out run of The Audience concluded its scheduled run at the Gielgud Theatre on June 15, 2013.