The London National Theatre’s live cinema broadcast of Phedre, starring Helen Mirren and Dominic Cooper, pulled in an audience of 14,000 from 73 screens across the UK. It was the first performance in the National Theatre Live season.

The play, the first to be shown through an initiative between independent cinema chain City Screen and the National, was shown on a further 200 screens internationally, including the Guthrie in Minneapolis and Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre. The performance, shown on June 25, was filmed in high definition and broadcast via satellite.

The National Theatre Live season will also include performances of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well in October, a live matinee of Nation, based on the novel by Terry Pratchett in January, and Alan Bennett’s The Habit Of Art, in early 2010.

The broadcasts also include behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the artists.

City Screen sub-licensed the broadcast to other independent cinemas and it was shown at Cineworld and Odeon multiplexes in some cities. Over the past three years, City Screen’s Picturehouse Cinemas have broadcast a variety of events including live opera and ballet. It screened the first ever live broadcast of a ballet from the Royal Opera House.

See Fionnulla Halligan’sblog for more.