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London’s National Theatre broadcasts come to UCC Centerstage for first time

Benedict Cumberbatch will play Dr. Frankenstein while Johnny Lee Miller is cast as the Creature.
Photo courtesy of National Theatre
Benedict Cumberbatch will play Dr. Frankenstein while Johnny Lee Miller is cast as the Creature.

Frankenstein will be the next London National Theatre broadcast showing in Jacoby Thursday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m., just in time for Halloween.

Theatre director Stephanie Newman has been trying to provide community members with new enriching entertainment options.

Although Newman has been at UCC for less than a year, she is already making major changes to the theatre’s offerings.

One of her first orders of business was to bring access to live broadcasts from London’s National Theatre.

Newman wanted people to  able to witness productions of classic and innovative plays from a renowned theatre company locally.

Before residents would have had to travel over 100 miles to Portland or Newport, OR to view  London’s National Theatre productions.

“This is the stuff that broadens our horizons. This is the stuff that plants seeds for new ideas and makes us think beyond our bubble,” said Newman.

The impact of these broadcasts is already being felt. During the first broadcast of “ Macbeth,” students from Oakland High School attended along with other community members.

“These types of performances allow us to escape our daily lives and see up close what classic theatre is all about.”

—Stephaine Newman,
director of Theatre Studies

After the performance, Newman held a Q&A session with the students to discuss what they just experienced.

The first play available in this new format at UCC was “Othello.” The second live broadcast was “Macbeth” with Kenneth Branagh (“My Week with Marilyn”, “Hamlet”) and Alex Kingston (“ER”, “Doctor Who”).        

This weekend, viewers will be given the opportunity to celebrate Halloween by attending “Frankenstein”, a play developed from the original novel and directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting”, “Slumdog Millionaire”).

“Frankenstein” stars Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Fifth Estate”, “Star Trek: Into Darkness”, “War Horse”) as the doomed Doctor Victor Frankenstein and Jonny Lee Miller (“CBS -  Elementary”, “Hackers”) as the tormented creature. This is a rebroadcast from performances that occurred in 2011 (The National Theatre is rebroadcasting these performances due to worldwide audience demand.)

In the future, Douglas County audiences will be able to see performances by Tom Hiddleston (“Thor 2 - The Dark World”, “Avengers”, “War Horse”) in “Coriolanus” and a musical adaptation of “War Horse” featuring the artistry of South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company.

The company was founded in 1963 by Sir Lawarence Oliver. London’s National Theatre, like UCC, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Since its inception, the National Theatre has created over 800 productions, like “Frankenstein.”

“Live plays are extraordinary. It’s cool to have this on campus,” said student Haley Stammen.