MF_1984_photo by Manuel HarlanWritten by George Orwell and created by Robert Icke & Duncan Macmillan, the West End smash hit adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, 1984 will have an exclusive Australian season from 16-25 October as part of the 2015 Melbourne Festival.

April, 1984. 13:00. Comrade 6079, Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary, and falls in love. But Big Brother is always watching, and the door to Room 101 can swing open in the blink of an eye.

Over 250,000 people have already seen Headlong’s radically staged production of 1984, one of theatre’s most powerful events of recent times. It received a nomination for Best New Play at the Olivier Awards, won a UK Theatre Award for Best Direction and forms a timely reminder of the dangers posed by the digital age and society’s subconscious cooperation in our own surveillance.

Published in 1949, 1984 is one of the most influential novels of all time, with its depiction of perpetual war pervasive government tracking and mind control and the corruption of language and history. Its ideas have become our ideas, and Orwell’s fiction is often said to be our reality.

US Senator Bernie Sanders warned of an ‘Orwellian future’ when responding to the rise of Wikileaks and the release of classified NSA files by Edward Snowden. Filtering the spirit and the ambition of the novel through this lens of contemporary culture, this new staging explores identity, a world where love is forbidden, and how thinking you can fly might actually be the first step to flying.

In this critically acclaimed adaptation co-­written and directed by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, the paranoid lives of Winston and Julia crackle into life. They bring us an exquisitely realised vision of a permeating tale – a world teeming with flickering screens and hidden cameras. For the very first time, this visceral reworking looks at the book in its entirety with a focus firmly on the novel’s appendix, shedding new light on a canonised text we all think we know but don’t.

1984 has, for decades, captured the public and critical imagination alike,” says Melbourne Festival Artistic Director, Josephine Ridge. “With superb theatricality and insightful intelligence, Headlong’s production brings all the power and topicality of 1984 into the contemporary arena reminding us all again of Orwell’s extraordinary prescience  and powerful imagination.”

Forward-­thinking  UK  theatre  renegades  Headlong  are  famed  for  their  technologically  innovative  theatre  making  and dynamic  reworkings  of  classic  texts.  The  Company  makes  exhilarating,  risk-­taking  and  provocative  new  work  to  take around the country and around the world, and encourages artists to ask provocative questions of the modern world in the most explosive ways they can imagine.

Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 16 – 25 October 2015
Bookings: 1300 182 183 or online at: www.melbournefestival.com.au

1984 is presented as part of the 2015 Melbourne Festival. For more information, visit: www.melbournefestival.com.au for details.

Image: 1984 – photo by Manuel Harlan