Entertainment & Arts

Live theatre screening scheme wins business award

Dame Helen Mirren
Image caption Dame Helen Mirren starred in the National Theatre production of Racine's Phedre

A theatre project which saw live plays being relayed to more than 300 cinemas around the world has won a business award for innovation.

The National Theatre was presented with the prize at the 32nd Arts and Business Awards in London.

Jean Racine's play Phedre, starring Dame Helen Mirren, was shown as part of National Theatre Live in June 2009.

Three other performances were broadcast live as part of the scheme.

These included the National's productions of Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well and The Habit of Art by Alan Bennett.

Tickets for the live screenings, sponsored by foreign currency exchange business Travelex, cost £10.

Award judges said the project had helped break new markets and attract new audiences.

"Enlightened business engagement with the arts is absolutely vital," said culture minister Ed Vaizey at Thursday's ceremony, held at the Museum of London.

The National's scheme mirrored an earlier initiative by the Royal Opera House, which began showing its productions in cinemas in September 2008.

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