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Lower Columbia College to continue National Theatre Live productions through 2017

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Benedict Cumberbatch stars in Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet,’ showing Friday at the Wollenberg Auditorium at Lower Columbia College.

This Friday, Lower Columbia College students and community members will be able to watch Benedict Cumberbatch take on the role of Shakespeare’s best known tragic hero, Hamlet, at London’s Barbican Centre.

But they won’t have to travel out of Cowlitz County to do so. The production is televised through the City of London’s National Theatre Live program, which broadcasts shows from both the National Theatre and other venues around the United Kingdom.

LCC began the program this fall, starting with Theatre Live’s “Frankenstein,” directed by Danny Boyle and based on the novel by Mary Shelley. Audiences of the original live production were captivated by what The Guardian called “a humane, intelligent retelling of the original story” that starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller. Since its debut in 2011, it has been shown to over half a million people in theaters worldwide through the Theatre Live program.

National Theatre Live launched in 2009 and has since broadcast more than forty productions, both live and pre-recorded, reaching 5.5 million viewers in more than 2,000 venues around the world, according to the program’s website.

The next closest theaters from Longview showing similar productions are in Camas and Portland.

Shown in LCC’s Wollenberg Auditorium, the idea came to life as a way to raise money for the college’s performing arts programs while the auditorium wasn’t being used for student shows or concerts.

“We can use it for productions, we can use it for students to plan a trip, so it gives us money for that,” said Robert Cochran, technical director for the Rose Center for the Arts.

Friday’s showing of “Hamlet” will begin at 7 p.m. in the Wollenberg Auditorium. Adult tickets are $17.50; student/senior tickets are $14.50. The show runs about three hours and 20 minutes, with a 20-minute intermission.

There will be two more shows before 2016 comes to an end: “War Horse” on Sunday at 2 p.m. and The Bolshoi Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.

Contact Daily News reporter Madelyn Reese at 360-577-2523


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