From Aberystwyth to Auckland, Wigan to Washington, Pompeii goes global


  • Over 1,000 cinemas in 51 foreign countries confirmed to relay “Pompeii Live at the British Museum” to an international audience from end of August
  • Exhibition to be broadcast LIVE to over 280 cinemas across the UK and Ireland on 18 June
  • 70% of cinema tickets already sold

The British Museum today announces that Pompeii Live from the British Museum will be shown to over 1,000 cinemas around the world from end of August 2013. In addition to the UK screening on 18 June, venues from as far afield as Isreael, India, China, Colombia, Malta and Norway will screen the special broadcast based on the British Museum’s hugely successful exhibition Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum. In total the broadcast will be shown in over 1,000 cinemas in 51 countries outside the UK and Ireland covering every continent.

International distribution will be organized by More2Screen on behalf of the British Museum. Christine Costello, Managing Director and Co-Founder of More2Screen Ltd said “We're proud to have been involved in many Cinema Event 'firsts' but it's particularly pleasing and exciting for us to be taking a project as truly innovative as this to the global cinema market. The story of Pompeii and Herculaneum is one which has captured the imaginations of people of all ages, all around the world. Now, thanks to the BM's bold initiative, audiences everywhere, from St Petersburg to Tokyo will be able to share in the wonders of history's most fascinating stories at their local cinema”.

Ticket sales for the UK live broadcast on the 18 June are selling fast with 70% of tickets sold across 280 venues. Pompeii Live at the British Museum, offers a private view of the exhibition from the comfort of a cinema seat. Introduced by Neil MacGregor, it is presented by Peter Snow and Bettany Hughes in the company of expert contributors including Paul Roberts, Mary Beard, Rachel de Thame, Andrew Wallace-Hadrill and Giorgio Locatelli. Pompeii Live at the British Museum will be a genuine innovation, the first time a 3D object exhibition will have been visualised for broadcast live via satellite. The Live will be broadcast at 19.00 and will run for 80 minutes. The evening premier will be followed the next day by a 60 minute live broadcast for schools showing in 220 cinemas at 11.00 on Wednesday 19 June. This is the first time any arts institution has presented a schools broadcast on this scale. This offers school groups studying key stage 2 and 3 the opportunity to visit their local cinema for a fun, interactive show which will see CBBC presenters Naomi Wilkinson and Ed Petrie take part in the live broadcast.

The evening event will be shown through all the major UK cinema groups including Cineworld, Vue, Odeon, Picturehouse, Empire, Curzon and Showcase as well as independent venues across the UK - all of whom have growing alternative content audiences. The Cineworld cinema group is showing Pompeii Live from the British Museum in 70 of its 80 screens across the UK and Picturehouse has sold 98% of its tickets to the live screening with a number of encore reruns already planned. The 90 seater Hawkhurst Kino cinema, near Rye in Kent has sold out the live screening with two further encore screenings already planned. The largest venue for the Live is the Malvern Theatre in Worcestershire which seats 800, with 60% of tickets sold at this venue so far. The Thurso Cinema, 20 miles from John O’ Groats, is the most northern screen to show the live broadcast. It is more than 100 miles away from the nearest cinema but has a thriving and committed audience for alternative content/event cinema. The Live will be a truly UK wide phenomenon with screenings across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

The popularity of the Live is indicative of the success of the Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition. With over 260,500 tickets sold and 10,000 school places fully booked the critically acclaimed exhibition, sponsored by Goldman Sachs has already reached its target with well over 3 months left to run. Pre-booked slots are extremely limited up to the end of July with 500 day tickets available on a first come first served basis. Opening hours have also been extended where possible to release more tickets on any available weekend mornings and on Saturday and Friday evenings, details available online. The unique live broadcast will enable the British Museum to share this ground-breaking and once-in-a-lifetime exhibition with the widest possible audience.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum said “The British Museum is thrilled to produce and broadcast its live exhibition event. The Live will be a physical manifestation of our desire to share the British Museum’s unique content across the UK and the world. This kind of innovative broadcasting, unthinkable even five years ago has opened up new ways of sharing knowledge and accessing objects for adult and young audiences alike”.

Notes to editors

Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum
Reading Room 28 March – 29 September 2013

This exhibition is the first ever held on the subject in the British Museum, and the first major exhibition in London for almost 40 years. The exhibition brings together many fascinating objects, both recent discoveries and celebrated finds from earlier excavations. Unlike previous exhibitions, its focus is not on the sites as a whole, but on the archaeology of the home and the lives of the people who lived there.

The exhibition transports visitors to the heart of the life and times of the people of the Roman cities Pompeii and Herculaneum. From the bustling street through to the intimate spaces of a Roman home, looking at daily Roman life prior to the devastating volcanic eruption of nearly 2000 years ago, and gives some perspective on the domestic context for the objects. No other exhibition on Pompeii has been attempted on a similar scale; the focus is on the ordinary Roman and the realities of home-life and, uniquely, includes material from both Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Sponsored by Goldman Sachs

In collaboration with Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei

Admission charge £15 plus a range of concessions. Tickets can be booked online at or 020 7323 8181. Opening hours 10.00–17.30 Saturday to Thursday and 10.00–20.30 Fridays. Additional ticket slots may be available on Friday and Saturday evenings and weekend mornings, check the website for further information.

An accompanying publication is available from British Museum Press: Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, by Paul Roberts. A magnificent illustrated book offering a unique perspective on the everyday lives of the citizens of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Hardback, £45, paperback £25.

Follow updates via Twitter on #PompeiiExhibition and #PompeiiLive and the Museum’s Twitter account @britishmuseum

A full public programme accompanies the exhibition. More information is available from the press office.

Pompeii Live at the British Museum
Cinemas nationwide
18 and 19 June

This unique live broadcast event will take cinema audiences round the exhibition in the company of renowned experts and practitioners who, alongside live performance – music, poetry and eye-witness accounts – will bring to life extraordinary objects, some never seen outside Italy before. Interviews throughout the exhibition will be intercut with stunning specially recorded films in Italy, showing Pompeii and Herculaneum and the sleeping Vesuvius. The premier on 18 June will be introduced by British Museum director Neil MacGregor and will feature a line-up of expert presenters to create a one-off experience including contributions from historian Mary Beard, Rachel de Thame revealing life in the garden, Giorgio Locatelli in the kitchen and Bettany Hughes in the bedroom. Tuesday 18 June, 19.00, running time 90 minutes.

For schools
The British Museum will follow the adult premiere on 18 June with a live transmission for school children across on 19 June also from the British Museum and aimed at Key Stage 2 and 3. This offers school groups the opportunity to visit their local cinema for a fun, interactive show which will see CBBC presenters Naomi Wilkinson and Ed Peatrie take part in the live broadcast. Wednesday 19 June, 11.00, running time 60 minutes.

International release
The recorded transmission of Pompeii from the British Museum will be released in international territories from 27 August, 2013 starting with Australia. Other international territory screenings are planned between September and November 2013.

Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum app
The British Museum has developing an app to accompany the exhibition. Using interactive maps of the region and a timeline of the eruption, users are able to explore the objects and themes of the exhibition, and immerse themselves in the life and death of the two cities on their phone or tablet. The app features exclusive video footage including curator interviews. The app is available on the Apple and Android app stores; iPad (£3.99), iPhone and Android (£1.99). iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android and Google Play are trademarks of Google Inc.

For further information
please contact the Press Office
on 020 7323 8583 / 8394 or

For high resolution images register for free at and find the British Museum under Arts

For public information please print or 020 7323 8181