Orwell Live

Our Orwell Live projects began in 2017, as we celebrated our partnership with UCL by staging the UK’s first live reading of the entire of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Beginning with Orwell’s son Richard Blair, the novel was read over the next eleven hours and features the voices of members of the public alongside authors, journalists and other public figures who through their life and work have engaged with Nineteen Eighty-Four‘s themes of truth, technology, history and inequality, from Billy Bragg to Bonnie Greer.

In 2018, we ran two live, dramatised re-imaginings of Down and Out in Paris and London, Orwell’s original investigation into the constant pressures of homelessness, destitution and low-payed work – one in each capital city. Both productions, which combined Orwell’s iconic work of first-person reportage with testimony from people who have experienced homelessness today in the UK and France, were directed by Hannah Price, produced by Libby Brodie Productions and live streamed to an audience across the UK and the world.

Orwell’s Down and Out: Live told a new story about homelessness: you can watch all the performances again here.

1984 Live

1984 Live was a landmark event which saw over fifty leading cultural figures read the whole of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four alongside members of the public, actors and broadcasters to create the UK’s first ever live reading. It took place in the site of the author’s inspiration for the notorious Ministry of Truth, the University of London’s Senate House, and was screen in libraries and theatres across the country. The reading, which has now been viewed over 15,000 times, begins around eleven minutes in and lasts for eleven hours.

Find the cast and full list of readers here.

Orwell's Down and Out: Live in London

Drawing on the iconic works of Orwell and combining these with real-life, modern-day testimonies, Orwell’s Down and Out Live is an immersive production which focuses on the phenomenon of homelessness both in the past and present day. Read live by politicians, artists, celebrities, activists and members of the homeless community and using a combination of music, story-telling, film and performance this live theatrical event, directed by Hannah Price, ran in London for one day and was accompanied by new poetic responses in English and French.

The event was the result of a collaboration between The Orwell Foundation, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Libby Brodie Productions and UCL’s Festival of Culture. It was supported using public funding by Arts Council England. We are grateful to generous sponsorship from White Light, the Young Theatre and Stone Nest.

Find out more.

Orwell's Down and Out: Live in Paris

Drawing on the iconic works of Orwell and combining these with real-life, modern-day testimonies, Orwell’s Down and Out Live is an immersive production which focuses on the phenomenon of homelessness both in the past and present day. Read live by politicians, artists, celebrities, activists and members of the homeless community and using a combination of music, story-telling, film and performance this live theatrical event, directed by Hannah Price, ran in Paris for one day and was accompanied by new poetic responses in English and French.

The event was the result of a collaboration between The Orwell Foundation, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Libby Brodie Productions and UCL’s Festival of Culture. It was supported using public funding by Arts Council England. We are grateful to British Council France and Refugee Rights Europe for their support.

Find out more.