The Wars of the Roses release

15th June 2016


We are delighted to confirm that our exclusive 3-disc DVD of The Wars of the Roses will be released on Tuesday 28 June. Adapted from the Henry VI plays and Richard III by William Shakespeare, this is the Royal Shakespeare Company production filmed by the BBC in 1964 and available for the first time since their broadcast on BBC 1 in 1965. One of the greatest achievements of the RSC and of British television in the 1960s has been digitally restored and is at last available on DVD.

‘A monumental production. One of the mightiest stage projects of our time, a production to remember all our lives.’
Bernard Levin writing for the Daily Mail in July 1963

The 3 discs contain 505 minutes including extras and retail at £29.99. (more…)

Richard III with Almeida Live

26th May 2016


We’re delighted to say that we are working with Almeida Theatre and Picturehouse Entertainment to broadcast Rupert Goold’s production of Richard III, with Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave live to cinemas around the world on July 21.

Press reports of the announcement in Variety and The Stage.


ImageRalph Fiennes as Richard III photographed by Hugo Glendinning.

Simon Rattle for Sky Arts

16th May 2016


May 16 saw the premiere of our new Sky Arts programme, Simon Rattle conducts The Seasons. Just exactly a month before at London’s Barbican Centre we recorded the great conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Chorus performing Haydn’s 1801 oratorio The Seasons. The soloists are soprano Monika Eder, baritone Florian Boesch and tenorAndrew Staples, who was a late replacement for the indisposed John Mark Ainsley. The resulting 140-minute programme, which is a co-production with the LSO, features the full work, together with introductory comments by Simon Rattle between each of the four sections. Rhodri Huw directs the screen version with his invariable flair and precision, and Lucie Conrad is our producer.

Reviewing the evening for the Guardian, Tim Ashley wrote:

Haydn was in his late 60s when he composed the score, and it is the work of an elderly man looking at life with great contentment, even as he contemplates its close. The plot, such as it is, is slight, and deals with the growing love of Lukas and Hanne under the watchful eye of her farmer father. But what makes it so special is Haydn’s affectionate evocation of the flux and variety of the natural world – much of it derived from memories of his own childhood in rural Austria.

It’s a work that suits Rattle, with his fondness for drive and detail, uncommonly well. It’s easy to forget the experimental nature of Haydn’s music, but here it was impossible to escape the novelty of effect within the cumulative span of the whole. Fine articulation from the London Symphony Orchestra’s strings and wind brought out a myriad details as frogs croaked and crickets sang.

Ultimately, though, it was the chorus’s evening, and they rose to the work’s challenges superbly, with plenty of warm tone from sopranos and basses, and great strength in the alto and tenor lines… And the whirling wine harvest waltz – Rattle took it at an almost daunting speed – was glorious in its detail and elation.

New Productions

21st March 2016

Rocky Horror

The end of 2015 and the first months of this year have been immensely busy with new productions. In September we pulled together the live cinema broadcast of The Rocky Horror Show for ATG Theatres and Picturehouse Entertainment. In October our exhibition documentary Ai Weiwei at the RA was screened as part of Sky Arts’ Hot Tickets strand which we produce for the channel. And in November Hot Tickets screened our recording of Bryn Terfel at 50, a concert with Sting, Danielle de Niese and others at the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the great bass-baritone’s fiftieth birthday. Further Hot Tickets will follow in 2016.

December saw the start of a major EU-funded research project, 2IMMERSE, in which Illuminations is a partner along with BT, BBC and others. It’s exciting to be involved again in cutting-edge technology research, and this has interesting possibilities for our performance presentations. We’ll share further details as it unfolds over the coming months.

February saw the broadcast on Sky Arts of our co-production with the Royal Opera House, Elizabeth, with Carlos Acosta and Zenaida Yenowsky, and next up is a recording for Sky of a major London Symphony Orchestra concert from the Barbican.

Screening of 1983 Channel 4 documentary Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Sculpture So Different, So Appealing

21st May 2015



One of the very first films that Illuminations produced is the arts documentary Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Sculpture So Different, So Appealing. Made with a number of sculptors in the summer of 1983 and screened on Channel 4 the following year, the 50-minute film directed by Geoff Dunlop was a co-production with the Arts Council of Great Britain. And on Tuesday 2 June the programme is to be screened in Leeds alongside an Arts Council England exhibition of sculpture from the 1970s and 1980s.

The exhibition Making It: Sculpture in Britain 1977-1986 is a touring exhibition from the Arts Council Collection which is on display at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park until 21 June. Featured in the show are works by Tony Cragg, Bill Woodrow, Anish Kapoor and Julian Opie, all of whom are featured in Just What Is It…?

The film will be shown in Leeds at Hyde Park Picture House (tickets available from the venue) along with William Raban’s film 72-82 which was produced in 2014 to mark the 40th anniversary of Acme Studios. William Raban and Just What Is It…? producer John Wyver will introduce the films and take part in a discussion afterwards.