Great Expectations cinema screening plays to 7,500

James Vaughan (Wopsle) and Jack Ellis (Jaggers) in Great Expectations. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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The West End’s first live broadcast of a show’s opening night was transmitted to around 7,500 people in local cinemas across the UK and Ireland.

Great Expectations’ live screening took around £80,000 at the box office after it went out to approximately 120 cinemas last week.

The film, which included additional footage such as the arrival of celebrity guests and interviews with audience members at London’s Vaudeville Theatre, where Great Expectations is playing, will also be screened in cinemas worldwide, such as those in Europe, Canada, the US, Asia and Australia.

Austin Shaw, the co-founder of Omniverse Vision, which filmed the event, said that in total he expected 50,000 people to see the broadcast worldwide.

He said he also hopes to film future Theatreland shows: “I am busy talking to lots of West End producers to show them the quality that can be achieved by doing this. Also, there is the idea of being able to capture original casts in new shows. One of the great shames is productions come in, run for a set number of weeks and then are gone again, and you have nothing to show for it.”

Shaw stressed that broadcasting productions does not create a threat to ticket sales for the live theatre performances.

He said: “Based on the last 15 years of filming productions, such as the anniversary of Les Miserables [at London’s O2 Arena], we have proved that when you film a show it actually boosts theatre box offices, because it reminds people these are great shows.”