Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts is exclusive Connecticut venue for launch performance of the NT Live series with Helen Mirren's Phedre Saturday, July 11


The UK's National Theatre launches NT Live a series of four live plays in high-definition to over 270 movie theaters and performing arts centers worldwide, supported by Travelex

Image: PhedreThe Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University has the distinction of being the sole Conn. venue to participate in the launch of "NT Live," the new initiative by the UK's National Theatre to broadcast plays onto cinema screens. The pilot season of "NT Live" will feature four plays from the stage of the National. The season launches with NT Director Nicholas Hytner's production of the Racine tragedy "Phèdre" in a version by the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, with Helen Mirren in the title role, Dominic Cooper and veteran actor Margaret Tyzack, which will be screened on Saturday, July 11 at 2:00 p.m., at the Quick Center for the Arts, Fairfield University. Tickets are $22-adults, $20-seniors, $15-students and children and are available at fairfield.edu/quick or by calling the Quick Center Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 877-ARTS-396.

Reviews for "Phèdre," which opened at the National in London on June 11, have been fantastic. The Guardian called it a "Powerful and striking production;" the Sunday Times hailed the "Outstanding acting, direction and set design (that) bring a classic tragedy powerfully to life." Of the broadcast and "NT Live" series, the Wall Street Journal said, "The new series makes the stage accessible to the mainstream in a way it hasn't been before, allowing theater lovers to see elite performances much the same way sports fans flock to high-definition broadcasts of games they can't attend. Theatrical performances that were previously exclusive ... are potentially open to any town with a movie screen."

This classic tragedy tells the story of a queen consumed by an uncontrollable passion for her young stepson and believing Theseus, her absent husband, to be dead, Phèdre, fearing exposure, accuses her stepson of rape. The result is carnage.

"The 'NT Live' events are designed to bring what we do on the stages of the National to a far greater number of people than we would ever be able to reach otherwise," says Director Hytner. "We have the technology at our disposal to ... reach passionate theatre-goers all over the world, and to do it really well."

Of her performance in "Phèdre" to be sent via satellite to movie theatres, Helen Mirren says, "I am very happy to have the opportunity to play Phèdre - a rich, complex and demanding role - and to be part of "NT Live," this grand new adventure for the National Theatre."

The "NT Live" series continues with the following schedule:

  • Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7:00 p.m. with Shakespeare's "All's Well That Ends Well" with Clare Higgins
  • Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2:00 p.m. with "Nation," based on a novel by Terry Pratchett, adapted by Mark Ravenhill and directed by Melly Still
  • Alan Bennett's new play, "The Habit of Art," with Michael Gambon, Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour - date TBD

"NT Live" internationally is supported by Travelex and funded in partnership with Arts Council England and NESTA. Travelex is the world's foreign exchange and business payments specialist.

"NT Live" events are distributed outside the U.K. through New York-based BY Experience, Inc.

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Posted on June 23, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 367