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A George Orwell classic is getting the immersive treatment next week

By Matt Breen
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Photo: Robin Boot

Fans of George Orwell, take note! An immersive, live theatrical version of ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ is being read and staged next week.

Orwell’s frequently grim and bleakly funny memoirs about his experiences of abject poverty in both cities will be brought to life at Stone Nest in Bloomsbury, as part of UCL’s Festival of Culture and it partnership with the Orwell Foundation. Director Hannah Price and producer Libby Brodie worked on last year’s live public reading of his dystopian masterpiece ‘1984’ (pictured above), and we’re incredibly excited to see what they will deliver here.

Details are being kept under wraps right now, but we do know the production will combine performance, music, film, poetry and storytelling and will be live-streamed into libraries and venues across the UK. A roster of high-profile names are involved, including journalists Jon Snow, writer Bonnie Greer and actor Simon Callow.

But most importantly, the purpose of the project is to highlight the present-day realities of homelessness, a problem getting worse, not better. The four poets commissioned to write in response to contemporary homelessness have done so by listening to the first-hand testimonies of rough sleepers and refugees. Orwell’s captivating book first opened the eyes of audiences 85 years ago. Today, they’re still just as relevant.

Down and Out: LIVE runs at Stone Nest on Wed June 6 from 2pm to 6pm. No booking required. For more info about the Festival of Culture, head here.

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