Who’s that appearing live at Picture House?

David Tennant is in one of the RSC Onscreen performances, in Richard II
David Tennant is in one of the RSC Onscreen performances, in Richard II

Former ‘Doctor Who’ David Tennant will be the first star name to be beamed into Hebden Bridge Picture House via a live link from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s base.

Thanks to a satellite dish and new digital equipment, the venue is now offering live cinema broadcasts of theatre, opera and ballet performances from internationally renowned theatres in London and also from Shakespeare’s home town.

Next Wednesday (November 13) the Picture House will broadcast ‘Richard II’, starring David Tennant as the king, live from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

It will be the first time that RSC Live will broadcast its productions live to cinemas, paving the way for three further live broadcasts in May, June and September next year.

Four hugely successful live screenings over the summer - including a sold-out screening of ‘Macbeth’ from Manchester International Festival - paved the way for a whole brochure of forthcoming live shows.

In addition to the 485 people who packed into the Picture House for this production, more than 300 watched ‘The Audience’, when National Theatre Live broadcast the West End production, with Helen Mirren reprising her Academy Award-winning role as Queen Elizabeth II, live from London’s Gielgud Theatre.

Hebden Bridge Picture House manager Rebekah Fozard said: “I’m really pleased we are doing it.

“The first screening was ‘The Audience’ back in June.

“We decided to stick with the National Theatre. They insist that you take the whole season, which includes four ‘encore’ screenings, which are the best of the ones they have previously screened.”

National Theatre Live’s 2011 broadcast of ‘Frankenstein’ is returning to the Picture House and other cinemas across the country as part of the National Theatre’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Director by Oscar winner Danny Boyle, the first version screened last Thursday saw Benedict Cumberbatch playing Victor Frankenstein and Jonny Lee Miller as his creation, while a screening in which the actors reverse roles will be available to view on Tuesday, December 3.

Other forthcoming screenings in the next six months include:

lThursday, November 21 - ‘The Habit of Art’ (15), an “encore” screening of NT Live’s 2010 broadcast of Alan Bennett’s acclaimed play, starring the late Richard Griffiths;

lThursday, December 12 - ‘The Nutcracker’ (advisory 12A), broadcast live from the Royal Opera House, London;

lMonday, January 27 - ‘Giselle’ (advisory 12A), one of the most romantic ballets of all time, broadcast live from the Royal Opera House, London;

lThursday, February 27 - National Theatre’s ‘War Horse’ (12A), broadcast live from London’s West End, in which Michael Morpurgo’s novel is adapted for the stage and takes audiences on an extraordinary journey from the fields of rural Devon to the trenches of First World War France;

lWednesday, March 19, ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ (advisory 12A), broadcast live from the Royal Opera House.

Details of the full programme are available in brochure form and can also be downloaded from the Picture House website: www.hebdenbridgepicturehouse.co.uk.

The policy of advance bookings not only allows the Picture House staff to gauge how many people are likely to attend on the night - also giving them an idea of how many people are needed to work that evening - but also can add to the enjoyment of people who would like a drink while watching the production.

Rebekah said: “You can enjoy alcohol at all of our live screenings when we know we have sold at least 150 tickets. We will open the bar to enhance what we are selling at the kiosk.”