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All the world’s a screen

Cinemas across the world are now showing live performances from the National Theatre. But will anyone turn up?

By John Nathan   August 2010

London Assurance in Finland, photographed by the author: struggling to find an audience

Helena Pikkarainen, her husband Timo and their 16-year-old daughter Keela are on their way to see their first ever National Theatre production: the 19th-century farce London Assurance. From their home, it will take about 30 minutes to drive to their destination—not bad going considering they live in the tidy northern Finnish village of Tyrnaevae, 200km south of the Arctic Circle.

In December, Tyrnaevae’s days last just three hours. At this point in late June, though, it is warm and the sun has been up for 22 of…

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