Chelan’s Historic Ruby Theatre patrons will soon have front-row seats to world-class British theater.
Theater owners Larry and Mary Hibbard have signed up to start offering monthly screenings of performances filmed live at London’s Royal National Theatre.
The National Theatre Live project started in June 2009 with the idea of sharing the live-performance experience across the world. The British stage plays are filmed using techniques that capture closeups as well as wide shots of the entire stage. The camera positions are tailored to each play, giving viewers the best seat in the house.
In the past decade, more than 80 plays have been filmed and made available for screenings to theaters across the globe.
Ruby’s shows will start Jan. 23 with “All About Eve,” starring Gillian Anderson and Lily James. It’s a stage adaptation of the award-winning 1950 movie starring Bette Davis as an aging Broadway star Margo Channing. The story follows Channing and her biggest fan, Eve, who is young, beautiful and ambitious.
Starting in February, the filmed stage productions will be featured on the third Thursday of the month. January’s show is an outlier, set on the fourth Thursday to accommodate Chelan’s Winterfest activities, which will be in full gear this weekend.
The lineup so far includes:
- Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” starring Benedict Cumberbatch on Feb. 20.
- Helen Mirren portrays Queen Elizabeth in “The Audience” on March 19.
- Arthur Miller’s, “All My Sons” is April 16, starring Sally Fields.
- Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter,” starring Andrew Scott, will show on May 21.
The Hibbards said they had been looking for something to add to their weekly lineups.
“We’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” Larry Hibbard said. “We wanted to up the ante a little bit and see if we could offer the community and the valley some other opportunities.”
The Ruby typically screens first-run Hollywood films Friday through Tuesday and is closed Wednesdays and Thursdays. The Hibbards wanted to find something that would fit into that schedule.
Last year, they started leasing space for Rotten Apple Comedy production shows, which is expected to continue.
The idea for the National Theater Live screenings came from conversations with other independent theater owners. The films also have been offered at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts in Leavenworth, but not too many other locations east of the Cascades.
The New York-based distributors, By Experience, have about 18 plays available at any given time.
“Mary and I picked the ones we liked, I guess,” he said. “We like Noel Coward, so we picked that one. And it’s always interesting to see how people interpret Shakespeare, so Hamlet will be interesting. It will take some time to see what people want.”
Hibbard had a chance to preview “All About Eve” over the weekend.
“It’s definitely top-notch theater,” he said. “It’s done professionally and the cinematography is done very well. For those of us who like live theater, it’s very enjoyable to watch.”
The reaction so far has been very positive, he said. He’s been fielding calls about online ticketing, which is not yet available.
The doors open early, though, to provide plenty of time to buy tickets. And group discounts are available.
For more information, call 682-5016 or go to rubytheatre.com.
The Ruby Theatre, originally built in 1914, is at 135 E. Woodin Ave.