London theater comes to Grass Valley – digitally |

London theater comes to Grass Valley – digitally

Digital technology and a local family’s hard work is bringing London stage plays to Grass Valley.

The Getz family, owners of Sierra Theaters, recently installed a satellite system that connects to their digital projector, allowing them to show broadcasts of programs on a large screen, said the business founders’ daughter, Azriel LaMarca, who spearheaded the effort. Sierra Theaters is a system of three movie houses and a film series in western Nevada County.

The new system brings National Theatre Live, a groundbreaking initiative to broadcast live performances from Britain’s stages to cinemas worldwide, LaMarca said. The first season of events was seen by more than 150,000 people in 22 countries.

Sierra Theaters will be one of 10 California cinemas to broadcast live recordings of the 2010-11 season, she added.

LaMarca called the big-screen broadcast system an “unforgettable live theater experience, without the air fare … We’re the only movie theater doing it in our area. You’d have to go to San Francisco to see it otherwise.”

The system premiered Thursday at Sierra Cinemas with the broadcast of a live recording of “Phedre,” the Greek tragedy of lust and betrayal, starring Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren in the leading role.

Future broadcasts of “Phedra” performances will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 9; at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14; and at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 23. All are at Sierra Cinemas, 840-C E. Main St., Grass Valley.

The program will continue with a new play each month, as the National Theatre cycles through its season: The award-winning new play, “A Disappearing Number,” in November, “Hamlet” in December, and “King Lear” and “The Cherry Orchard” coming in 2011.

It is just the beginning, LaMarca said.

“We’re responding to the numerous requests from community members to show the Metropolitan Opera Live, which theaters have been doing for the last few years,” she said. “We haven’t been able to get a contract for the opera yet, but we think this ought to be equally as good.

“We hope, if we’re successful, the Met will grant us a license to broadcast their season.”

To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail tkleist@ or call (530) 477-4230.

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