By Eric Scicchitano
Sunday marks the return of National Theatre Live to Campus Theatre on Market Street.
The program delivers multi-camera, live broadcasts of productions from the famed Royal National Theatre in London or other theaters in the United Kingdom.
The five-show run begins at 1 p.m. with a new adaptation of “Small Island,” an award-winning novel set in post-WWII Great Britain about the history between the European country and the Caribbean island of Jamaica.
The play features a cast of 40 actors. The run-time is big, too: 3 hours, 20 minutes with an intermission.
The Sunday-only series continues Oct. 20 at Campus Theatre with “I’m Not Running,” “The Lehman Trilogy” on Oct. 27, “The Audience” on Nov. 10, and “Hansard” on Dec. 1. All shows begin at 1 p.m.
The British theater performances feature names familiar to American consumers of film and television. Helen Mirren portrays Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience.” She won an Oscar for the same role in 2007’s “The Queen.” Sam Mendes, who directed “American Beauty” and the James Bond film “Skyfall,” directs “The Lehman Trilogy.”
Scotta Magnelli, executive director, Campus Theatre, said the on-screen presentation allows an audience to experience top-notch theater from a different perspective compared to sitting in front of the stage.
“You’re only getting one angle live,” Magnelli said. “Our screenings are more immersive.”
National Theatre Live is part of Campus Theatre’s mission statement to bring alternative programming to Lewisburg as a supplement to first-run films. Sometimes, the live theater performances are tied into course studies at Bucknell University.
Donna Padilla, director of outreach and fundraising, Campus Theatre, said it’s an accessible option for theater-lovers and cinemaphiles.
Those curious about professional theater on a grand stage can get the experience at a rural theater in Central Pennsylvania.
“It’s a low-cost way to test the waters to see if it’s something you’d be interested in traveling for. It’s a great way to open your eyes and learn different perspectives,” Padilla said.
Doors to National Theatre Live shows open at 12:30 p.m. Cost is $15 for adults including members, $12 for senior citizens and $10 for students. For more about the series, visit www.campustheatre.org/nt-live-schedule.