1984 Live

Tuesday 06 June 2017 @ All day


Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House,
University of London
Malet St, London WC1E 7HU

  • The UK’s first ever live start-to-finish reading of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four on Tuesday 6th June 2017, 9am until 10pm at Senate House, London WC1E 7HU.
  • Senate House was the inspiration for Orwell’s ‘Ministry of Truth’.
  • Bringing together a variety of voices, politics and perspectives, the reading highlights Nineteen Eighty-Four’s worldwide and contemporary relevance.
  • 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.
  • Actors, writers, politicians, journalists, academics and members of the public will read the book over the course of a single day, two days before the UK General Election and the 68th anniversary of the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four on 8th June 1949.
  • Readers include Richard Blair (Orwell’s son), Alan Johnson MP, writer Aminatta Forna, journalist Peter Hitchens, Turkish writer Ece Temelkuran, musician Billy Bragg, Baroness Patience Wheatcroft, broadcaster and historian David Olusoga and activist Jack Monroe.
  • Members of the public can apply for a chance to read at orwellfoundation.com/1984live
  • Free event, first-come first-served.
  • The full reading will be live-streamed online.

The Orwell Foundation and UCL Festival of Culture are delighted to announce a live, start-to-finish reading of Nineteen Eighty-Four in Senate House, University of London. As Nineteen Eighty-Four has risen to the top of bestseller charts all over the world, almost 70 years after its publication. Now, two days before the UK General Election and for the first time in the UK, members of the public will hear Nineteen Eighty-Four read by a host of actors, writers, journalists, politicians and members of the public over the course of a single day in the centre of London. This unique event, part of the UCL Festival of Culture 2017, will be free and open to the public. The reading will begin at 9am and end around 10pm.

George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four was written in 1948, just before he died of tuberculosis in University College Hospital.  Senate House – where Orwell’s wife worked during the war – provided inspiration for the Ministry of Truth, which Orwell so chillingly depicted in the novel. Nineteen Eighty-Four became perhaps the most pervasively influential book of the twentieth century, recently becoming a bestseller again. This unique event offers the opportunity to hear Orwell’s seminal work read aloud in the building which inspired the literary world’s most fearsome (fictional) building.

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

For further information about the event, please see www.orwellfoundation.com/1984live.

Getting involved

Sign up to the 1984 mailing list to receive information and updates about the event

Your chance to read

The public ballot for slots to read is now closed. Thanks to all who entered, we’ll get back to you by 26th May.

How can I get tickets?

This free event will not be ticketed. You are invited to drop in and stay as long as you like. Audience members will be admitted on a first come, first served basis.

Can I watch even if I can’t come to Senate House?

Yes! The event will be live-streamed here online through YouTube on the day.

Libraries and theatres all over the country are getting involved- there might be a satellite event near you:

  • Poole Central Library will be showing the live-streaming at Poole Central Library, Dolphin Centre, BH15 1QE from 9am. People are welcome to drop in through the day, no bookings or tickets required.
  • Lambeth Libraries are holding George Orwell Day as part of the Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival. During the day Lambeth Libraries will be hosting ‘Selfie stations’ where you can borrow copies of Orwell novels as well as tweeting your own alt-fact, fake news, or as Orwell would have put it, ‘newspeak’ #1984Live
  • Halton Libraries will be screening the live-stream of the reading on 6th June.
  • Leeds Central Library will be screening the live-stream of the reading on 6th June from 9am until 5pm and on Wednesday 7th June will host a 1984 Live Film Screening, at 6pm (doors 5.15pm) in Room 700, Leeds Central Library.
    • In this time of alternative facts and political uncertainty, there is no better time to revisit this chillingly relevant story of a nightmarish totalitarian society. As part of our Orwell series, we’re screening the classic film adaptation of 1984, starring John Hurt as the downtrodden Winston Smith and Richard Burton as the cynical O’Brien.Have a Victory Gin from our licensed bar and test your mettle against our ‘Room 101’ experience, but remember Big Brother is watching!Suitable for ages 15+Tickets: £5 – https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/ELGLGE
  • York Explore Library and Archive are hosting two special events to celebrate Nineteen Eighty-Four. Tickets are £4 or £3 with a York Card can be made at any library in York, by telephone on 01604 552 828 or at www.exploreyork.org.uk/event/loving-big- brother/ and www.exploreyork.org.uk/event/little-nephews
    • Loving Big Brother Thursday 1 June at 6.15pmProfessor John Bowen from the University of York, will argue that Nineteen Eighty-Four is as much a gothic as a political novel speaking from the experience of editing the novel for Oxford World’s Classics
    • Little Nephews Monday 19 June at 6.15pm Dr Adam Stock from York St John University will trace the ways in which works of literature, film, TV and graphic novels from the 1950s to the present have engaged with Orwell’s dystopian novel.
  • More sattelite events tbc!


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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 Managers: Lara Goncalves, Ruth Parry