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Hampstead Theatre streams Drawing The Line

Published 8 January 2014

The final performance of Howard Brenton’s drama Drawing The Line is to be live-streamed free online this Saturday, 11 January.

The production, which follows the story of Mr Justice Cyril Radcliffe, the man tasked with dividing the Indian sub-continent into India and Pakistan in 1947, will be free to watch live on both Hampstead Theatre and The Guardian’s websites from 19:30.

Speaking about the streaming, which has been enabled by a special agreement with the production’s cast and creative team, Brenton said: “On behalf of the company, we’re delighted that Drawing The Line will be live streamed. The play has big themes: the end of the British Empire, the birth of India and Pakistan and the terrible human consequences of the creation of the border between them. But it also celebrates the humanity and brilliance of the leaders of the different communities and their visions for a better future. Live streaming is a very exciting way of setting up our theatre anywhere on the subcontinent, or in the world, so anyone can see our play.”

Played in Drawing The Line by Tom Beard, Radcliffe had very little knowledge of the area the future of which he had so much control over. He had no expert support, little knowledge of geography and only six weeks in which to achieve his goals.  He was a man, according to Official London Theatre’s Charlotte Marshall, “whose expertise lay more in marketing powdered egg than cartography and political advocacy”. Brenton’s play follows his realisation that he is being used as a political sacrificial lamb and that whichever decisions he makes will result in copious bloodshed.

The live steaming of Drawing The Line follows the success of a similar streaming of Brenton’s #AIWW: The Arrest Of Ai Weiwei, which ran at Hampstead Theatre in April 2013 and was streamed to viewers watching in 84 countries.

The venue’s Artistic Director Edward Hall commented: “We are delighted that Hampstead Theatre can continue to break new ground, following our first successful live streaming event of The Arrest Of Ai Weiwei in April, and live stream for free this extraordinary play by Howard Brenton. We hope people all over the world will engage with this fascinating piece of history which has been rarely explored on the stage until now. We are grateful to Howard, the cast and the creative team for their support in enabling us to show their work in this way.”

Following the live stream, the play will be able to view on demand at the Hampstead Theatre website for another 72 hours. There will also be a live webchat with Brenton on The Guardian’s website on 14 January at 13:00.

After Drawing The Line’s final performance on Saturday, Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn will move onto Hampstead’s main stage. Starring Emilia Fox and Emma Fielding, the drama tells the story of university friends who, decades later, covet each other’s lives.


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