Pompeii exhibit to be disaster movie of the summer

British Museum show joins growing trend for major exhibitions to be streamed in cinemas

Nick Clark
Monday 04 February 2013 02:25
Comments

Live streaming in cinemas has been one of the great arts success stories of recent years. From Puccini's La Bohème at the Royal Opera House to the National Theatre's Frankenstein, audiences have flocked to see showpiece productions beamed directly into their local multiplexes and independent screens.

But these shows had music, dramatic dialogue and, in Frankenstein's case, Benedict Cumberbatch, to tempt people to the box offices. A more unlikely summer blockbuster is about to make film stars of ancient-history scholars and pieces of pottery.

London's venerable British Museum is making its first foray into the world of live streaming with a private view for cinema audiences of its forthcoming exhibition, "Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum".

On 18 June, scholars including Mary Beard, professor of classics at Cambridge University, will guide audiences in darkened screening rooms around the country through the exhibition, which brings together 250 treasures from the cities destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. They include recently discovered pottery and ivory panels and the fresco of Flora, the goddess of flowers, as well as the casts of six residents who died in the disaster. The museum has signed deals with Vue, Odeon and Picturehouse cinemas to screen the event live, with a another live event the following day for schoolchildren.

Audiences will be welcomed to the exhibition by Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, and then taken arounds by experts including the show's curator, Paul Roberts.

Other contributors include the historian Bettany Hughes who will tell the story of the cities through surviving objects, while Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli and gardener Rachel de Thame will shed insight on the everyday life of residents.

In bringing us Pompeii: the Movie, the British Museum hopes it can get in early on a nascent and potentially lucrative trend in bringing exhibitions to life in cinemas, which began when the National Gallery invited in cameras for its 2011 show, "Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan".

That live stream was the brainchild of the documentary maker Phil Grabsky and played to 98 per cent capacity when it was shown in 41 Picturehouse cinemas.

The 90-minute production was later screened in 1,000 international cinemas.

Mr Grabsky is now editing his film of the major Manet exhibition that opened last month at the Royal Academy, which will be shown in cinemas in 30 countries.

Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

He said that many people around Britain and abroad cannot get to London to experience these exhibitions, but added that the films, live and otherwise, also brought something additional to the gallery-going experience in the form of expert insight.

"I'm not saying we replicate galleries," he said. "It's partly for people to learn about the works and partly the pure aesthetic pleasure of seeing the artworks on a massive screen."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in