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April 2015
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newlsetters'Live' in high definition
By Colin Sully

Presumably most of us would baulk at the idea of popping over to New York for the evening to see the Metropolitan Opera… or to Moscow to see the Bolshoi. Even a trip to Stratford to see the Royal Shakespeare Company or London to see the Royal Ballet needs a bit of thought and careful planning.

But have you discovered ‘Live Cinema Arts - in High Definition’?

Our first experience was in 2007 at the Phoenix Cinema in Oxford. The Picturehouse chain of cinemas was one of the first to introduce ‘Live-in-HD’ and their small, local cinemas were packed for every production. In the first few years we had to queue for several hours on ticket-release dates to be sure of getting a cinema seat nine months in advance!

Since then the variety of arts companies and the range of cinemas showing these events has grown enormously. There are now plenty of opportunities to see world-class theatre, ballet and opera at cinemas in Chesham, Aylesbury and High Wycombe. Here’s a list of some ‘live’ events coming soon to a cinema near you:


  • 9th - Titus Andronicus: Globe Theatre
  • 16th – The Hard Problem: National Theatre
  • 19th – Ivan the Terrible: Bolshoi Ballet
  • 24th – Cavalliera Rusticana / Pagliacci: New York Metropolitan Opera
  • 27th – A View from the Bridge: National Theatre
  • 30th – Julius Caesar: Globe Theatre


  • 5th – La Fille Mal Gardee: Royal Ballet
  • 14th – Man and Superman: National Theatre
  • 19th – Pirates of Penzance: English National Opera

I’m not suggesting that ‘Live-in-HD’ is the same experience as seeing it in the theatre; you clearly lose something of the ambience and thrill of the event. But to counter-balance this, you always get a fantastic view of the stage and you don’t need binoculars to see what’s going on. You can hear everything clearly and in the intervals you get added-value interviews with the performers and/or back-stage insights … plus of course the bonus of being local!

For around a tenner a ticket, you can also afford to take a risk or two. Certainly we have seen (and walked out of) performances that we wouldn’t have dreamt of paying top prices for.

I hope this doesn’t sound like a free ad for our local cinemas; it’s just that I’m keen to share the pleasure that ‘Live-in-HD’ has given me, especially now that tickets aren’t so difficult to come by! Full details are available on the cinema websites.

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