V&A to screen hits from theatre archive

Screenings of Hackney Empire’s 2010 production of Aladdin, starring Clive Rowe, and the Old Vic’s 2004 production of Hamlet, with Ben Whishaw, are to be shown by the Victoria and Albert Museum, as part of a series celebrating the 20th anniversary of its National Video Archive of Performance.

First begun by the V&A in 1992 when it operated the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden, the archive features 280 recordings of theatre productions. The most recent to be recorded was The Riots at the Tricycle.

The V&A will present the programme of free screenings on selected Sundays over the next six months. The series will also include the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Cardenio, directed by Gregory Doran in July last year, and 2005′s Don Carlos, starring Derek Jacobi and Richard Coyle.

Other shows will include the Young Vic’s A Christmas Carol from 2008.

Jill Evans, producer of the NVAP, said the archive is important for educational reasons, adding that people in the profession also use it to see how shows have been put together. She said it is also “important for posterity”.

The V&A’s first screenings will take place between January 22 and March 25, with a second series taking place from April 15 until June 17. Each screening will be presented by an original member of the production or a V&A curator.

An agreement between the Federation of Entertainment Unions and the V&A theatre and performance department enables the V&A to make archival recordings of live performance without payment of artists’ fees.

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