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Wirtz Center Brings Stage and Literary Classics to the Big Screen

Stars of Hollywood and Broadway and London stage are among production leads

  • “Jane Eyre” will launch winter 2016 National Theatre Live series at Northwestern
  • “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” cast includes “Downton Abbey” star Michelle Dockery
  • National Theatre staging Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” for the first time in 30-plus years 
  • “Hamlet” with Benedict Cumberbatch returns following four sold-out screenings last fall

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The School of Communication’s ongoing Stage on Screen series at Northwestern University offers the best of international theater captured live for the big screen.

A major part of the series is National Theatre Live (NT Live), which brings live theater to venues around the world, broadcasting award-winning drama on film. The line-up for upcoming NT Live shows at the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, begins in early February and includes “Jane Eyre,” “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” “As You Like It” and “Hamlet.” 

All four NT Live broadcasts will be streamed in the newly-renovated Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus.

The Wirtz Center’s recently rehabbed Louis Theater now features 288 comfortable new seats, two internal aisles, more wheelchair accessible seating, a reconfigured floor that reduced the rake (sloping angle) of the theater and seating that is broken up into six sections.

Tickets for each of the following National Theatre Live Screenings are $20 for general public; and $10 for full-time students, 30 years old or younger, with valid IDs (at the door).

National Theatre Live Winter 2016 broadcasts

  • Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre,” the first broadcast in the National Theatre Live line-up, will air at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2. This acclaimed re-imagining of Brontë’s masterpiece was first staged at Bristol Old Vic last year, when the play was performed over two evenings. Director Sally Cookson now brings her celebrated production to the National Theatre, presented as a single performance, with an approximate running time of 210 minutes. After almost 170 years, Brontë’s story of the trailblazing Jane is as inspiring as ever. This bold and dynamic production uncovers one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfillment on her own terms. From her beginnings as a destitute orphan, Jane Eyre’s spirited heroine faces life’s obstacles head-on, surviving poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal before taking the ultimate decision to follow her heart. Watch Video Trailer.
  • National Theatre Live will stream a performance of Christopher Hampton’s “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 1. Starring Michelle Dockery (PBS’ “Downtown Abbey”), Janet McTeer and Dominic West, director Rosie Rourke’s revival now marks the play’s 30-year anniversary. In 1782, Choderlos de Laclos’ novel of sex, intrigue and betrayal in pre-revolutionary France scandalized the world. Two hundred years later, Hampton's powerful adaptation swept the board, winning the Olivier and Evening Standard awards for Best Play. “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” follows two former lovers -- the Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont -- who now compete in games of seduction and revenge. Merteuil incites Valmont to corrupt the innocent Cecile de Volanges before her wedding night, but Valmont has targeted the peerlessly virtuous and beautiful Madame de Tourvel. While these merciless aristocrats toy with others’ hearts and reputations, their own may prove more fragile than they supposed. The production will run for approximately 240 minutes.
  • “As You Like It,” Shakespeare’s comedy of love and change, will air at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29. The London production will be staged at the National Theatre for the first time in more than 30 years, with Rosalie Craig (“London Road,” “Macbeth” at the Manchester International Festival) as Rosalind. With her father the Duke banished and in exile, Rosalind and her cousin Celia leave their lives in the court behind them and journey into the Forest of Arden. There, released from convention, Rosalind experiences the liberating rush of transformation. Disguising herself as a boy, she embraces a different way of living and falls spectacularly in love. The broadcast will run for approximately 240 minutes. Watch Video Trailer.
  • An encore broadcast of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, will be streamed live at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 30. Back by popular demand, this screening follows four sold-out screenings of the same performance this fall at the Wirtz Center. Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s “Sherlock,” the film “The Imitation Game,” “Frankenstein” at the National Theatre) takes on the title role of Shakespeare’s great tragedy. The National Theatre Live production is directed by Lyndsey Turner (“Posh,” “Chimerica”) and produced by Sonia Friedman Productions. As a country arms itself for war, a family tears itself apart. Forced to avenge his father’s death but paralyzed by the task ahead, Hamlet rages against the impossibility of his predicament, threatening both his sanity and the security of the state. The program will run for approximately 210 minutes. Watch Video Trailer

For more information, phone 847-491-4819, visit the Wirtz Center website or email

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