1984 Live was a landmark event which saw over 50 leading cultural figures read the whole of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four 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. You can watch the whole thing here.
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.
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.
The whole reading is available to watch here, beginning at 11.18mins. Scroll down to see the list of readers in order of appearance.
The Orwell Foundation is a registered charity (No.1161563). If you have enjoyed 1984: Live and would like to make a donation to support the event please click on the button below. Even £3, the cost of a (London) coffee would make a big difference. Thank you.
In order of appearance, the Readers of 1984 Live were:
Part 1, Chapter 1
George Orwell’s adopted son
George Orwell’s great-grandson
George Orwell’s grandson
Literary Agent. Executor of the Orwell Estate
Journalist and Editor, The Oldie.
Part 1, Chapter 2
Writer. Winner of The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2016.
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.
Journalist, Author and former Foreign Correspondent.
Part 1, Chapter 5
Son of Georges Kopp, Orwell’s commander in the POUM.
Editor, Nature journal. Author of The Life Project (2016), longlisted for The Orwell Prize for Books 2017.
Journalist and Literary Critic. Curator of M-Fest: A Muslim Festival of Books and Ideas. Deputy Editor of Wasafiri Magazine.
George Orwell’s niece.
Award-Winning Journalist, shortlisted for The Orwell Prize 2015.
Deputy Director, the Orwell Foundation
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
Producer, most recently “I, Daniel Blake”
Member of the Public
Fatima Al Rayes
Member of the Public
Part 1, Chapter 8
Editor, History Today.
Journalist, Columnist at the Mail on Sunday. Winner of the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2010.
Writer and Journalist. Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Books 2017.
Member of the Public
Member of the Public
Part 2, Chapter 1
Journalist and Writer, most recently co-author of Cut (2016). Longlisted for The Orwell Prize for Books 2017.
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
Award winning theatre actor. Credits include: “Silk”, “Dr Who” & “Antony & Cleopatra”.
Part 2, Chapter 3
Professor Simon Schama
Historian, University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University.
Dr Martin Moore
Director, Centre for the Study of Media, Culture and Power, King’s College London.
Somalian-born campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM). Author of Cut (2016). Longlisted for The Orwell Prize for Books 2017
Part 2, Chapter 4
Chief Foreign Affairs Columnist, Financial Times. Winner of the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2016.
Singer-Songwriter and activist. Albums include Talking With the Taxman About Poetry, and Shine a Light with Joe Henry.
Part 2, Chapter 5
Critic, Novelist and Biographer. Author of Orwell (2003) award-winning biography of George Orwell.
Television Presenter and author of None of the Above (2015).
Part 2, Chapter 6
Head of Special Collections and Archivist in UCL Library Services
Part 2, Chapter 7
Crime fiction writer, Biographer and Historian. Shortlisted for The Orwell Prize for Books 2017.
Head of Corporate and Community Affairs, BBC Northern Ireland.
Part 2, Chapter 8
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.
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.
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.
Member of the Public
Turkish Journalist and Author. Fired as a columnist from Habertürk after writing articles critical of the government.
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.
Award-Winning Television and Film Director, most recently I, Daniel Blake.
Part 2, Chapter 10
Journalist. Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2017.
Writer, Political Commentator and Journalist. Media diarist for The Independent.
Part 3, Chapter 1
Writer, Journalist and Activist.
Professor Stella Bruzzi
Dean of Arts and Humanities at UCL.
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
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.
Actor. Recent credits include: “Boa”, “Death of a Salesman” and on film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”.
Poet, performer and author. Contributor to The Good Immigrant (2016).
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
Director best known for work in theatre and as the director of Mamma Mia! and The Iron Lady
Part 3, Chapter 5
Scottish journalist and writer. Visiting Professor of Archaeology at UCL.
Canadian actress, filmmaker and DJ with a love for classic literature, soul music, love itself and understanding
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.
Live Screenings and Satellite Events
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.
- Kidderminster Library will screen the live-stream of the reading during opening hours on 6th June.
- Huddersfield Library (HD1 2SU) will be screening the live-stream of the reading on 6th June.
- Redbridge Libraries Gants Hill 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.