Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday Creatives: The London Stage comes to Seattle

I need live theatre.  Not just want... I need it.  If I go too long without it I get twitchy!

And I'm not too much of a snob about it; a $5 UW Undergrad production of Macbeth satisfied me just as much as some ventures to 5th Ave.  But, like with Peter and Alice (which I wrote about here & here),  there are times when a production sounds SO good that the quality matters.  That's when I'm so very grateful for the digital age! 

Two sources in particular are doing great things to bring London's Stage closer to home:  Digital Theatre and National Theatre Live.

Digital Theatre works with several great theatres - including the RSC, Royal Court, Shakespeare's Globe, and an array of West End productions.  Their site allows you to rent or buy digital copies of these productions.  They have a strong Shakespeare collection, but also several award-winning, contemporary options.   My personal favorite is their modernized Much Ado About Nothing starring David Tennant & Catherine Tate

[This was actually playing when I was in London, but, alas, was sold out]

[Yes - Doctor Who S3 becomes Shakespeare!]
The other, is National Theatre Live.  Beginning with the National Theatre of Great Britain 5 years ago, now extended to several other theatres, NT Live's purpose is to broadcast productions to cinemas around the world - making theatre accessible, while maintaining the collective viewing experience singular to the theatre.  When possible, they broadcast the plays live.  That means going to see a play in Seattle at noon while it is concurrently taking place at an 8 pm showing in London.  100% live.  They do encores as well, where they have recorded productions.

Through NT Live I've seen Danny Boyle's Frankenstein (starring the Olivier Award-Winning pair, Jonny Lee Miller & Benedict Cumberbatch) a few times - and it's returning this Fall!! - as well as Alan Bennett's play People.  They've both been fabulous quality!

Through SIFF, you can catch most NT Live productions.  Some upcoming hilights:  Helen Mirren in The Audience,  Rory Kinnear & Adrian Lester in Othello, and, coming next January, Tom Hiddleston is Coriolanus (!!)

All that to say - London can sometimes feel closer than it actually is.  And there are some surprisingly affordable ways to catch a viewing of some of the greatest actors reciting the greatest lines. 

If any of the NT Live showings strike your fancy, leave a comment - maybe we can go together!


  1. Consider all my fancies stricken ;)


  2. We've talked about this already, BUT I'm reserving time with you to see Frankenstein again (but this time with BC as Frankenstein) and of course Coriolanus! :)