For Libraries and Community Hubs | Orwell’s Down and Out: Live

George Orwell’s classic book on 1930s poverty in Paris and London – alongside other work including his diaries, modern stories from the streets, discussions, and new poetic responses – will be brought to life in an immersive, multidisciplinary performance that asks searching questions about homelessness today.

6th June 2018

The event is free, and we encourage libraries and community hubs across the country to organise viewing events.

Down and Out in Paris and London: LIVE is a performance organised by the team behind the widely-acclaimed 1984: LIVE. It is presented by the Orwell Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and UCL Festival of Culture, produced by Libby Brodie Productions and directed by Hannah Price, with funding from Arts Council England and support from White Light and The Young Theatre. Read more about the event here. Check out our suggested reading list here (and let us know what we’ve missed).

How to get involved

The Orwell Foundation has a designated contact for libraries and community hubs, who can be contacted here. First things first, get in contact to say you’re interested! We’ll help in any way we can.

Primarily, libraries, bookshops, and community hubs can organise screenings. The performance will be live-streamed online. So, with the help of a computer, internet connection, and a screen or projector, members of the public can get involved in this nationwide event. On the day, it’s as easy as setting up a computer, a projector and some speakers, and clicking the link to get the live-stream started.

Watch the event live.

Other ideas for getting involved include:

To publicise your event, we can help with posters, logos, information and some web support. We will add you to our listing of community events on our website, and can support via Twitter and Facebook (follow us on @TheOrwellPrize and use the hashtag).


Here are some examples of events which were held across the country to tie in with 1984: Live, which might give you some ideas:

  • Poole Central Library, Halton Libraries, Kidderminster Library, Huddersfield Library, Redbridge Libraries and others showed the live-stream: people were welcome to drop in through the day.
  • Lambeth Libraries held George Orwell Day as part of the Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival. They hosted ‘Selfie stations’ where people could borrow copies of Orwell novels as well as tweeting their own alt-fact, fake news, or as Orwell would have put it, ‘newspeak’.
  • Leeds Central Library screened the live-stream of the reading as well as a screening of the classic 1984 film.
  • York Explore Library and Archive hosted two special events to celebrate Nineteen Eighty-Four: a talk with Professor John Bowen from the University of York and a talk with Dr Adam Stock from York St John University on 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.


Can we charge for tickets? 

You can’t charge members of the public to watch the lifestream of Down and Out: Live. You may wish to suggest a donation, perhaps for a local homelessness charity.