Culture On The Big Screen

As my Tortoise Soup followers know, I am somewhat of a culture vulture. Give me a book to read, a play to watch or an aria to listen to and a broad smile spreads across my face. I blame a surfeit of culture for the ‘laughter lines’ that seem to be growing daily around the corners of my eyes.

I love to see live performances: whether it be drama or musicals at the theatre or opera and ballet in opera houses. Well now there is another way for you to enjoy a dose of the arts, and I heartily recommend it to you all: culture on the big screen.

Last week I went to watch the final performance of ‘The Last Of The Hausmanns’ at the National Theatre. This is the debut play from the pen of Simon Beresford and it has been a phenomenal success. I loved every minute of it, people were laughing heartily and at the end the audience around me stood as one to applaud the excellent cast led by the ever wonderful Julie Walters. During the interval, people popped into the auditorium for a drink and a light snack, or stayed in their seats reading a programme. I wasn’t at the National Theatre in London however, I was in the Cineworld movie complex two hundred miles to the north in Sheffield.

Once the lights have dimmed and the ‘action’ commences, you quickly become embroiled in the production itself. It is easy to forget that you are in a cinema so that when the lights come up again it is a relief to find that you don’t have to join the frantic throng heading towards the Embankment tube station.

Watching theatre at the cinema has several advantages: the seats are often cheaper, and all afford an excellent view; there is no need to book accommodation or spend money on transport; there is a more relaxed, informal, atmosphere; there is no need to book in advance to procure a ticket. For all of these reasons and more watching culture at the cinema can be ideal for beginners: a perfect introduction to the genre for people who haven’t previously experienced live drama, opera or ballet.

There are a growing number of cinemas that screen culture throughout the United Kingdom and abroad, both chains and independents. To feed the increased demand for cinematic culture, many companies are now providing live screenings or recordings of previously filmed events. I have provided links to some of these companies below:

The National Theatre:

http://microsites.nationaltheatre.org.uk/ntlive

The Royal Opera House:

http://cinema.roh.org.uk/

There are also regular screenings of ballet from Russia’s legendary Bolshoi Ballet and from New York’s Metropolitan Opera, so please do keep an eye on your local cinema’s listings.

So the next time that you feel the need for an oversized bucket of popcorn, why not settle back into your seat and watch some of the greatest theatre, opera and ballet in the world all for the same price of a ticket to see Final Destination 10?

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