(Dominick Cavendish’s article appeared in the Telegraph 10/30; Alice Vincent’s article with poll was published 10/30.)

On Saturday November 2 the National Theatre will turn into the South Bank’s answer to Broadcasting House. A television production crew will colonise it to beam its 50th anniversary gala, via satellite, live to the nation (on BBC Two) and to cinemas around the world. A showcase of such logistical daring has never been attempted in the theatre’s history. Nicholas Hytner, the NT’s supremo, is going to town with a cavalcade of 100 actors performing 26 extracts.

As David Sabel, the executive producer of the evening, suggests, it’s like “the National’s equivalent of the Olympics opening ceremony”. Yet when we meet, the young American could hardly seem more confident. As the National’s director of broadcast and digital, he has delivered its NT Live programme, an experimental initiative so successful that some two million people to date have watched NT shows on the big screen, in a vast geographical spread.


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