The National Theatre’s groundbreaking initiative to broadcast live from London to cinemas and performing arts venues around the world has been an overwhelming success.  The first season was seen by over 165,000 people on 320 screens in 22 countries including audiences at the Strand Theatre.

National Theatre Live will return with a new season Thursday, Oct. 14. “A Disappearing Number” will kick off the season when it is broadcast at the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., live at 2 p.m. and rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

This season, for the first time, the National Theatre will collaborate with two other British theater companies, Complicite and the Donmar Warehouse, whose productions of “A Disappearing Number” (Oct. 14) and “King Lear” (Feb. 3) will be filmed respectively at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth and the Donmar’s home theater in London.

Each of the season’s performances will have a live broadcast at 2 p.m. and rebroadcast at 7 p.m. at the Strand Theatre. Tickets are now on sale at $23 for adults and $15 for students younger than 19; call the box office regarding school group rates.

National Theatre Live performances are filmed live in high definition and broadcast via satellite to more than 300 cinemas around the world, live in Europe and some United States cities; and time-delayed in countries farther afield. There are more than 75 venues in the United Kingdom alongside venues in the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Scandinavia and Europe. The performances at the National are nominated in advance to allow cameras greater freedom in the auditorium.

National Theatre Live’s first venture beyond London, “A Disappearing Number,” was conceived and directed by Simon McBurney. It won the Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle awards for Best New Play. “A Disappearing Number” weaves together the story of two love affairs, separated by a century and a continent. The first happens now; the second is set in 1914. The play tells of the heartbreaking collaboration between the greatest natural mathematician of the 20th century, Srinivasa Ramanujan, a penniless Brahmin from Madras in South India, and his British counterpart, the brilliant Cambridge don GH Hardy.

Also will be Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” directed by Nicholas Hytner, to be broadcast Dec. 9 from the National’s Olivier Theatre; “FELA!”, a  provocative and wholly unique hybrid of dance, theater and music that explores the world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Jan. 13; Donmar Warehouse’s “King Lear” with Derek Jacobi in the title role, Feb. 3; Danny Boyle’s new production of “Frankenstein,” a play by Nick Dear based on the novel by Mary Shelley, broadcast from the National’s Olivier Theatre March 17; and Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” directed by NT Associate Director Howard Davies and featuring Zoë Wanamaker as Madame Ranevskaya, June 30.

Tickets are $23, $15 for those younger than 19 (not available online), general admission. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the box office, 594-0070, weekdays between noon and 4 p.m. or visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to