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.

The second season concludes Thursday, June 30 with “The Cherry Orchard” starring Zoë Wanamaker. The high definition live satellite broadcast from London will be screened at 2 p.m., with a rebroadcast at 7 p.m., at the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St.

Anton Chekhov’s brilliant classic is directed by Howard Davies, a veteran interpreter of Russian plays whose recent productions “Philistines,” “Burnt by the Sun” and “The White Guard” have earned huge critical acclaim. Wanamaker, starring as Ranyevskaya, has performed in a broad range of stage, film and television projects including “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.”

Set at the very start of the 29th century, “The Cherry Orchard” captures a poignant moment in Russia’s history as the country rolls inexorably towards 1917. Ranyevskaya returns more or less bankrupt after 10 years abroad.  Luxuriating in her fading moneyed world and heedless of the increasingly hostile forces outside, she and her brother snub the lucrative scheme of Lopakhin, a peasant turned entrepreneur, to save the family estate. In so doing, they put up their lives to auction and seal the fate of the beloved orchard.

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 email to