Theater live is a brand new artistic form employing powerful technical methods, dramatic languages of film as well as multi-camera shooting from various angles to record the limited quality stage resources at internationally-renowned theaters and broadcast them on a big screen to audiences far away. On April15th, British National Theater Live (BritishNT Live), top one of its kind not only in the UK but also in the world, was launched in Tianjin by Tianjin Grand Theater and Beijing Aozhewei Cultural Communications, allowing residents in the city to enjoy the amazing mainstream professional theater staged in the West End of London at a local theater.
Established in 2009, NT Live has since broadcast more than 50 live productions, attracting over 5.5 million people worldwide in over 2,000 venues. Since it started broadcasting productions in China 2015, over 120,000 audiences have experienced 800 live broadcasts in 33 venues of 18 cities. To accomplish the broadcasts, Tianjin Grand Theater strictly followed the requirements of NT Live’s Chinese partner and managed to present the original taste of the productions to the audiences. The first broadcast was Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch, a world-famous British superstar who is nicknamed Curly Fu by Chinese fans, meaning Holmes with curly hair due to his curly hairstyle in his role as Sherlock Holmes.
Hamlet—starring Curly Fu with impeccable acting and directed by Lindsay Turner who is the third female director in history wining the Olivier Award, the top award presented in recognition of achievements in commercial British theatre—was filmed live with five cameras positioned in different angles and broadcast simultaneously. The powerful technical methods provided audiences with a greatly enhanced experience; with filming techniques like slide track and close-up, the broadcast managed to successfully capture the nuances of theatre on camera in a way that honors the integrity of the stage production. Curly Fu’s bright blue veins due to anger and his tears on his face were clearly presented to the audiences, which was an audio-visual enjoyment even the most expensive seats in a theater couldn’t manage to offer.
Other NT Live broadcasts from Tianjin Grand Theater will include Shakespeare’s Coriolanus with the world-acclaimed actor Tom Hiddleston, called by Chinese audiences as Dousen, a nickname homophonic with his name; The Audience, a Tony Award-winning production starring Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren; two versions of Frankenstein with Curly Fu and another famous British actor Jonny Lee Miller switching their roles; No Man’s Land starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, two leading actors with an average age of over 75 in the fantastic film series X-men; and the Man and Superman with Ralph Fiennes who was the main actor in classic films like English Patient and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
By Gao Li, Jin Wan Bao