By George Orwell
Adapted & created by shake & stir theatre co
Big Brother is back.
Oceania; a Nation perpetually at war, where cameras watch every move and Thought Police roam the streets. A place Winston Smith calls home.
By day, Winston is an editor at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting history to align the past with the radical political agenda of the ruling party and its illusive leader, Big Brother.
By night, Winston pursues a forbidden love affair with the mysterious Julia in an attempt to rebel against the oppressive regime set down by the party and maintain some control over his otherwise totally controlled life.
When Winston and Julia are discovered, they are violently separated, detained and prepared for conversion. Locked in the Ministry of Love and interrogated by the quietly terrifying O'Brien, Winston is beaten, manipulated and subjected to sickening torture in an attempt to make him reject dreams of liberation and understand that free thought and logic is the only true enemy.
From the team that brought you the sold out season of Animal Farm, this new stage adaptation brings George Orwell's final novel screaming into the present. Strap yourself in for this terrifically frightening theatrical event featuring a cast of some of Queensland's most acclaimed artists, set against a dynamic digital backdrop. This production is sure to stun as it contemplates the ultimate crime against humanity - the total destruction of truth, freedom and individuality in favor of surveillance, obedience and conformity.
Director: Michael Futcher
Designer: Josh McIntosh
Lighting Designer: Jason Glenwright
Sound Designer: Guy Webster
Media Producers: optikal bloc
Electronics Partner: VIDEOPRO and Panasonic
See what QPAC audiences are saying about 1984!Watch Videos
"It's a triumphant return to QPAC for energised young theatremakers Ross Balbuziente, Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij, following the roaring success of last year's Animal Farm by returning to the wellspring of Orwell.
The team who wove their magic on Animal Farm have reunited, anchored by director Michael Futcher, whose attention to every detail would, one imagines, make him one hell of a plate-spinner.
It all points to another victory for a young company who give so much back to the theatre community, and work towards bringing theatre to the regions and into schools. Their adaptations of classic texts are done with innovation, soul and meticulous care.
To borrow from Newspeak, "doubleplusgood" doesn't quite do 1984 justice. Can Big Brother approve us going up to "tripleplusgood"?" The Courier-Mail
"Wonderful, wonderful production... Everyone gives 110% - I just loved it!" 612ABC Radio, Doug Kennedy
"This is a flawless production, with flawless performances from the cast of five. In fact, I couldn't fault anything about it, and the fact that I was almost physically sick with tension and terror says as much about Michael Futcher and his cast as it does about the power of George Orwell to chill us to the bone." A Little Gossip, Allison Coates
"shake & stir have done a stunning job realizing this work for the stage... This show gets into your head... This is Brisbane's theatre at its finest." Theatre People
"shake & stir's ability to bring classic, world changing literature to the main stage is double-plus awesome. It's rare to see a book adaptation that feels whole and complete in its own right." Aussie Theatre
"There's a fine pedigree of proven experience and youthful vigour in this cast which promises much and delivers on cue. Probets is arresting and brave as Winston Smith... arguably the best single performance of the year!" Brisbane Times
Reviews and Awards from shake & stir theatre co's production of Animal Farm, Cremorne Theatre QPAC 2011
(Returning to QPAC in 2013)
Awarded Best Independent Play of 2011 (2012 Matilda Awards)
Awarded Best Direction of 2011 (2012 Matilda Awards)
Awarded Best Play of 2011 (The Courier-Mail)
"Do whatever you can to get a ticket". The Courier-Mail
"shake & stir nailed it. Physical theatre at its best". Artshub
"A must see!" 612ABC Radio
"This is one of the best productions I have seen in Brisbane". Briztix
"With its electric blend of breathless narration, physical virtuosity and cracking dialogue, shake & stir theatre co do justice to Orwell's dark, sometimes raucous, and always disturbingly confrontational text. Animal Farm is brought to visceral, menacing life here with startling conviction and magnificent skill.
Seasoned shake & stir theatre co veterans Nick Skubij, Nelle Lee and Ross Balbuziente are to be credited for their insight and expertise in adapting the text and bringing Animal Farm to life on stage.
Skubij's is credited with the adaptation. His effort is true to the original material but not so slavish as to restrict the physicality and spontaneity required of a motley animal posse. Meanwhile as sinister tyrant Napoleon he is appropriately staid and unsympathetic. Nelle Lee masters the art of horseplay by turns as show-pony Mollie and matronly mare Clover. She embodies vainglorious frivolity or mature apprehension with her whole body, irresistibly charming and quietly hilarious. And Ross Balbuziente is a tower of strength and power as old workhorse Boxer - with a keen sense of comic timing and the best prop on stage. Probets is phenomenal in his approach to anything on hoof or paw, though never more so than as slimy porcine spin doctor, Squealer. Here his lean limbs and hungry eyes bespeak a corruption that need not task the audience with any great imaginative leap. In Probets Squealer is made fully alive, and every bit as revolting as Orwell intends.
This play is nothing if not unremittingly vibrant; just like any farmyard it is non-stop in its melee of action and noise. The chaos is raucous, the grief tangible. The sound increases in ominous layers of desperation and doubt until the final terrible crescendo, which we all know is nigh but hope might still change". Brisbane Times
by George Orwell
adapted by shake & stir theatre co
Suitable for a Grade 8 to 12 audience
Duration: 85 min + 10 min Q&A with castDownload the 1984 - Teachers' NotesDownload the 1984 - Dramatic Elements Notes
- Story Drama/Telling
- Political Theatre
- Multimedia Theatre
- Physical Theatre
- Contemporary Performance of Heritage Text
- Poverty vs Wealth
- Social Classes
1984 offers many possibilities - live performance, a Heritage text adapted into a Contemporary style, multimedia and physical performance and a range of theatrical mediums. From a Year 8 student who is experiencing and learning about a live performance for the first time to a well seasoned Senior Drama student who is critiquing the performance for a Responding Task, this is a must see for your students.
1984 is a well used and loved text in the English Curriculum in Queensland and Australia. The complex narrative and development of characters will be explored in a user friendly and engaging way, making the breakdown easier for students. The contemporary nature of the performance styles used will give your students the edge in understanding one of the most relevant texts for our times.
Forming: Scriptwriting stimulus, directing styles, character development for improvisation or scripted Drama, adaptation of text to performance.
Performing: Performance styles, the role of the actor.
Responding: Responding to live theatre, exploring the purpose of theatre.
This production comes with a comprehensive Teachers Resource Kit compiled by shake & stir theatre co's Education Liaison, Naomi Russell. The kit includes curriculum connections, pre and post show class discussions and activities and extra insight into the production specifically for teachers and students.
shake & stir theatre co and QPAC