Aviva to sponsor National Theatre Live

23 Sep 2010

  • Second season of live broadcasts of plays to cinemas worldwide begins this autumn.

Aviva, the world’s sixth largest insurance group, today announces a major new partnership with the National Theatre as sponsor of National Theatre Live in cinemas in the UK and worldwide.

The sponsorship agreement will run for three years and is a significant investment in the National’s groundbreaking initiative to broadcast live performances of plays to cinemas and performing arts venues around the world. The first season was seen by 180,000 people on 320 screens in 22 countries.

The second season of National Theatre Live begins this autumn and features new NT productions of Hamlit, Fela!, Frankenstein and The Cherry Orchard. For the first time, the season will also include two collaborations with other British theatre companies: Complicite and the Donmar Warehouse, whose productions of A Disappearing Number and King Lear will be filmed respectively at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth and at the Donmar. Today (23 September) there is also another chance to see Phedre, the show that launched the pilot season of National Theatre Live last year.

Sally Shire, global brand development director, Aviva plc said: "We’re delighted to be supporting National Theatre Live, bringing the best of British theatre productions to international audiences in the comfort and convenience of their local cinemas. As the world’s sixth largest insurance group, Aviva is well-placed to share the National Theatre’s ambition to grow this innovative programme in scale and stature. We look forward to seeing audiences increase over the coming season and enjoying the ‘National Theatre experience’ on the big screen."

Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, said: "We are hugely grateful to Aviva for their support. We could not have initiated the experimental pilot season of  National Theatre Live without Arts Council investment; its success has now enabled us to attract a generous corporate sponsor. I very much look forward to a long and exciting international collaboration."

National Theatre Live performances are filmed live in high definition and broadcast via satellite to over 300 cinemas around the world, live in Europe and some US cities, and time-delayed in countries further afield. There are over 90 venues in the UK alongside venues in the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Scandinavia and Europe. The performances at the National are nominated in advance to allow cameras greater freedom in the auditorium.  

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For further information about Aviva, please contact:
Vanessa Rhodes, Senior Manager, Group Media Relations, Aviva plc
E-mail: Vanessa.Rhodes@aviva.com
Telephone: 0207 662 2482

For further information about NT Live, please contact:
Lucinda Morrison, Head of Press 
Telephone: 020 7452 3232 
E-mail: lmorrison@nationaltheatre.org.uk 

Mary Parker, Senior Press Officer 
Telephone: 020 7452 3234 
E-mail: mparker@nationaltheatre.org.uk

Notes for editors:

Aviva 

  • Aviva is the world’s sixth largest* insurance group, serving 53 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific
  • Aviva's main business activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £45.1 billion and funds under management of £379 billion at 31 December 2009 
  • We are the largest insurance services provider in the UK and one of the leading providers of life and pensions products in Europe  
  • The Aviva media centre at www.aviva.com/media includes images, company and product information and a news release archive
  • For broadcast-standard video, please visit www.aviva.com/media/b-roll-library.  
  • Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/avivaplc

* based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2009

National Theatre Live

The plays for the second season are:  

Phedre encore screening (23 September): Helen Mirren plays the title role in Nicholas Hytner’s production of Phedre by Jean Racine, in a version by Ted Hughes, with a cast also led by Dominic Cooper and Margaret Tyzack.  

Complicite’s A Disappearing Number (14 October): National Theatre Live’s first venture beyond London, broadcast live from the Theatre Royal, Plymouth.  Conceived and directed by Simon McBurney, A Disappearing Number won the Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best New Play. 

Hamlet (9 December):  Rory Kinnear plays Hamlet, with Clare Higgins (Gertrude), Patrick Malahide (Claudius), David Calder (Polonius), James Laurenson (Ghost/Player King) and Ruth Negga (Ophelia), directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Fela! (13 January 2011):  a provocative and wholly unique hybrid of dance, theatre and music exploring the world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Featuring Bill T Jones’s 2010 Tony Award-winning choreography, this original new creation comes via Broadway to the National Theatre.

Donmar Warehouse’s King Lear (3 February 2011): Derek Jacobi plays the title role, directed by Michael Grandage, broadcast from the Donmar’s home in Covent Garden. 

Frankenstein (17 March 2011):  Danny Boyle’s new production of Frankenstein, a play by Nick Dear, based on the novel by Mary Shelley.

The Cherry Orchard (30 June 2011) by Anton Chekhov, in a version by Andrew Upton, directed by Howard Davies, with Zoë Wanamaker as Madame Ranevskaya.

For a list of participating locations and ticket information visit www.ntlive.com

NT Live events are distributed outside the UK through New York-based BY Experience, Inc, the pioneer of global live “alternative content” digital cinema events. For more information visit www.byexperience.net