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Orwell’s 1984 to get live-streamed reading in election run-up

Senate House in London. Photo: I Wei Huang/Shutterstock Senate House in London. Photo: I Wei Huang/Shutterstock
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London’s Senate House is to host the first live reading of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four in full.

A series of actors, writers, politicians and members of the public will take it in turns to read the book two days before the general election, from 9am until 10pm on June 6.

It will be live-streamed online throughout the day.

Readers include MP Alan Johnson, journalist Peter Hitchens, musician Billy Bragg, activist Jack Monroe and Orwell’s son Richard Blair.

The novel, written in 1948, depicts the UK under a totalitarian regime and has spawned many adaptations since its publication. A 2013 stage version by Duncan Macmillan and Robert Icke had two West End runs and toured internationally.

The reading is a collaboration between University College London’s Festival of Culture, a week-long festival comprising talks and exhibitions, and the Orwell Foundation, which champions honest writing and reporting.

The art deco Senate House building where the reading will take place provided the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s novel.

Members of the public who wish to read at the event are invited to send a one-minute video of themselves narrating an extract from the novel. These entries will be put into a ballot.

Hannah Price, who founded Theatre Uncut, will direct the event and it will be produced by Libby Brodie Productions.

A full line-up of readers will be announced soon.

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