National Theatre Live

National Theatre Live

National Theatre Live is the best of British theatre, performed in London and presented in Wisconsin Rapids by McMillan Memorial Library.  

The National Theatre in London is dedicated to making the very best theatre and sharing it with as many people as possible. In fulfillment of its mission, it has launched a service to broadcast live and recorded performances to cinemas and other venues around the world. McMillan is one of only three public libraries internationally to participate in this program.

Each broadcast is filmed in front of a live audience in the theatre, with cameras carefully positioned throughout the auditorium to ensure that cinema audiences get the ‘best seat in the house’ view of each production. Where these cameras are placed is different for each broadcast, to make sure that cinema audiences enjoy the best possible experience every time. Due to the time zone difference and to best fit within the Library's schedule, showings at McMillan are delayed from the original broadcasts.

“The Library has expanded its weekly film series to incorporate a once-a-month film festival of regional, documentary, limited release and foreign films” said Library Director Andy Barnett. “We wanted to build on that by presenting the best of British theatre to our community.”

As with all Library events, admission is free. Seating in the theater may be limited. Doors will open 45 minutes before show time. These programs are sponsored by the McMillan Memorial Library Endowment Fund.

For Educators - The National Theatre has created PDFs, lesson plans and video learning resources which can be freely used by anyone. You can find them at - just click on the relevant production and scroll down to the video and document links. You won’t need to be logged in to access these, but some video content is not available in the U.S. The National Theatre also has a variety of other free learning resources linked through their main website. Go to and on the bottom of the page are links to YouTube, iTunes U and SoundCloud accounts with multimedia content. Their Learning page - also has lesson plans and packs for a number of past productions

2017 series

January 23 - Les Liaisons Dangereuse In 1782, Choderlos de Laclos’ novel of sex, intrigue and betrayal in pre-revolutionary France scandalised the world. Two hundred years later, Christopher Hampton's irresistible adaptation swept the board, winning the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Play. Josie Rourke’s revival now marks the play’s thirty year anniversary. Former lovers, the Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont 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.

Coming events - Amadeus, Shaw's Saint Joan and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

2016 Series

December 1 - Hamlet. Academy Award® nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock, The Imitation Game) takes on the title role of Shakespeare’s great tragedy. 

November 3 - Frankenstein. Directed by Academy Award®-winner Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, Steve Jobs),  this thrilling production features Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock, The Imitation Game) and Jonny Lee Miller (CBS’s Elementary, Trainspotting) alternating roles as Victor Frankenstein and his creation. 

September 29 - The Audience. Winner of three Tony Awards® and two Olivier Awards, National Theatre Live’s smash-hit broadcast of the original West End production of The Audience - featuring Helen Mirren’s multi-award-winning performance as Queen Elizabeth II - returns in celebration of the monarch’s 90th birthday.