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1984 LIVE

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Arts & Culture - The Orwell Foundation

1984 LIVE

Over 50 leading cultural figures read sections of the book alongside members of the public to create the UK’s first ever live reading, on the site of the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth – Senate House. The reading was offered as an act of subversion in itself, an included immersive staged elements, submerging audiences in the world of Big Brother, IngSoc and The Party. Using projection and actors from UCL, the audience were able to absorb the intrigue and horror of 1984.

The reading was directed by Hannah Price and produced by Libby Brodie Productions.

1984 Live was part of the UCL Festival of Culture 2017 a week-long festival, comprising talks, workshops and exhibitions, set to challenge your thinking and offer new ways of understanding our world.

Libraries and Theatres across the country screened the reading and organised satellite events and activities – see below for more information.


In order of appearance, the Readers of 1984 Live were:

Part 1, Chapter 1

Richard Blair

George Orwell’s adopted son

Archie Blair

George Orwell’s great-grandson

Gavin Blair

George Orwell’s grandson

Bill Hamilton

Literary Agent. Executor of the Orwell Estate

Harry Mount

Journalist and Editor, The Oldie.

Part 1, Chapter 2

Nicci Gerrard

Writer. Winner of The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2016.

Hugh Levinson

Editor, BBC Radio Current Affairs.

Part 1, Chapter 3

Lord Ken Macdonald QC

Lord Macdonald QC, Chair of The Orwell Foundation and Liberal Democrat Member of the House of Lords.

Michela Wrong

Journalist, Author and former Foreign Correspondent.

Part 1, Chapter 5

Quentin Kopp

Son of Georges Kopp, Orwell’s commander in the POUM.

Helen Pearson

Editor, Nature journal. Author of The Life Project (2016), longlisted for The Orwell Prize for Books 2017.

Arifa Akbar

Journalist and Literary Critic. Curator of M-Fest: A Muslim Festival of Books and Ideas. Deputy Editor of Wasafiri Magazine.

Catherine O’Shaughnessy

George Orwell’s niece.

Peter Ross

Award-Winning Journalist, shortlisted for The Orwell Prize 2015.

Kathy Harvey

Deputy Director, the Orwell Foundation

Liam Wantenaar

Member of the Public

Part 1, Chapter 6

Caroline Criado Perez

Writer, broadcaster and award-winning feminist campaigner. Author of Do it Like a Woman (2015).

Part 1, Chapter 7

Rebecca O’Brien

Producer, most recently “I, Daniel Blake”

Isabel Ogilvie-Smith

Member of the Public

Fatima Al Rayes

Member of the Public

Part 1, Chapter 8

Paul Lay

Editor, History Today.

Peter Hitchens

Journalist, Columnist at the Mail on Sunday. Winner of the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2010.

Gary Younge

Writer and Journalist. Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Books 2017.

Hector Parsons

Member of the Public

Lucie Benaiteau

Member of the Public

Part 2, Chapter 1

Anna Wharton

Journalist and Writer, most recently co-author of Cut (2016). Longlisted for The Orwell Prize for Books 2017.

Fiammetta Rocco

Editor of Books and Arts, the Economist

Professor Anthony Julius

Solicitor and academic best known for actions on behalf of Princess Diana, Deborah Lipstadt and Heather Mills.

Part 2, Chapter 2

Frances Barber

Award winning theatre actor. Credits include: “Silk”, “Dr Who” & “Antony & Cleopatra”.

Professor Simon Schama

Historian, University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University.

Part 2, Chapter 3

Dr Martin Moore

Director, Centre for the Study of Media, Culture and Power, King’s College London.

Hibo Wardere

Somalian-born campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM). Author of Cut (2016). Longlisted for The Orwell Prize for Books 2017

Part 2, Chapter 4

Gideon Rachman

Chief Foreign Affairs Columnist, Financial Times. Winner of the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2016.

Billy Bragg

Singer-Songwriter and activist. Albums include Talking With the Taxman About Poetry, and Shine a Light with Joe Henry.

Part 2, Chapter 5

D.J. Taylor

Critic, Novelist and Biographer. Author of Orwell (2003) award-winning biography of George Orwell.

Rick Edwards

Television Presenter and author of None of the Above (2015).

Part 2, Chapter 6

Gillian Furlong

Head of Special Collections and Archivist in UCL Library Services

Part 2, Chapter 7

Ruth Dudley-Edwards

Crime fiction writer, Biographer and Historian. Shortlisted for The Orwell Prize for Books 2017.

Mark Adair

Head of Corporate and Community Affairs, BBC Northern Ireland.

Part 2, Chapter 8

John Seaward

Actor. Recent credits include “The Inbetweeners Movie” and “The Philanthropist”.

Ros Wynne Jones

Journalist, creator of The Road to Wigan Pier Project, Daily Mirror. Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2017.

Guy Pewsey

Journalist, London Evening Standard.

Part 2, Chapter 9

Baroness Patience Wheatcroft

Journalist and Conservative Member of the House of Lords. Former Editor-in-Chief of the Wall Street Journal Europe.

David Olusoga

British-Nigerian Writer, Broadcaster and Historian. Author of Black and British, longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Books.

Professor Maya Jasanoff

Coolidge Professor of History at Harvard Univeristy.

Professor John Bew

Professor in History and Foreign Policy at King’s College London. Shortlisted for The Orwell Prize for Books 2017.

Taniya Welmillage

Member of the Public

Ece Temelkuran

Turkish Journalist and Author. Fired as a columnist from Habertürk after writing articles critical of the government.

Hugh Montgomery

Head of Culture, the Daily Telegraph.

Lord Melvyn Bragg

Broadcaster, author and member of the House of Lords, best known for the BBC Radio 4 Programme In Our Time.

Ken Loach

Award-Winning Television and Film Director, most recently I, Daniel Blake.

Part 2, Chapter 10

Nick Cohen

Journalist. Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2017.

Matthew Norman

Writer, Political Commentator and Journalist. Media diarist for The Independent.

Part 3, Chapter 1

Jack Monroe

Writer, Journalist and Activist.

Professor Stella Bruzzi

Dean of Arts and Humanities at UCL.

Mark Ravenhill

Playwright whose work has been produced by the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Court Theatre. He lost his virginity in 1984.

Part 3, Chapter 2

Alan Johnson

Former MP for Hull West and Hessle, former Home Secretary and winner of The Orwell Prize for Books 2014.

Dame Harriet Walter

Actor. Most recent work : Boa, Brutus, King Henry and Prospero in the Donmar all-female Shakespeare Trilogy. Recent films include “The Sense of an Ending”. Author of Brutus and Other Heroines.

Guy Paul

Actor. Recent credits include: “Boa”, “Death of a Salesman” and on film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”.

Part 3, Chapter 3

Salena Godden

Poet, performer and author. Contributor to The Good Immigrant (2016).

Jennifer Lim

Actor and filmmaker. Founding member of British East Asian Artists.

Daniel York Loh

Actor and writer. One of 21 featured essayists in the award-winning The Good Immigrant (2016).

Part 3, Chapter 4

Professor Jean Seaton

Director, The Orwell Foundation

Phyllida Lloyd

Director best known for work in theatre and as the director of Mamma Mia! and The Iron Lady

Part 3, Chapter 5

Neal Ascherson

Scottish journalist and writer. Visiting Professor of Archaeology at UCL.

Samantha Michelle

Canadian actress, filmmaker and DJ with a love for classic literature, soul music, love itself and understanding

Bonnie Greer

American-British playwright, novelist, critic and broadcaster. Book judge for The Orwell Prize for Books 2017.

Creatives and Crew

Director: Hannah Price

Hannah Price is Co-Artistic Director and Founder of Theatre Uncut, the winner of two Fringe First awards, a Heralds Angel award and the Spirit of the Fringe Award. She was Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse and was recently Associate Director to John Malkovich on Good Canary.

Producer: Libby Brodie

Libby Brodie Productions has most recently produced the European premiere of Waiting For Waiting For Godot (St James Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (UK Tour) and the world premiere of Run The Beast Down (Marlowe Theatre, Finborough Theatre) and currently, The Philanthropist (Trafalgar Studios).

Lighting Designer: Robbie Butler

Robbie has twice been nominated for an off west end award for best lighting design and in 2015 was the winner of the ETC award from the association of lighting designers. More information can be found at www.robbiebutlerdesigns.com

Sound Designer: Philip Matejtschuk

Philip Matejtschuk is a twice-Offie nominated London-based sound designer and composer, whose most recent work includes Brimstone & Treacle (Hope Theatre), Jekyll & Hyde (Pleasance London), Tom Molineaux (Jack Studio Theatre), and Adding Machine (Finborough Theatre). Philip is also Head of Sound at Italia Conti.

Stage Manager and Board Op: Lara Goncalves
Stage Managers: Ruth Parry, Chris Firth, Scott Clarke
Crew: Andrew MacDonald, Paolo Freccero, Alex Zaharia
Graphic Design: Lucy Le Lievre
Julias: Catrin Harris and Ruth Gibson
Winstons: Dean Ashton and Lachlan McCall

Video Production Team

Camera: Patrick Robinson, Phil Mason, Alejandro Lopez.
Live stream director: Matt Aucott.
Web support: Maurice Brown.




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