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‘1984’ Australian cast announced as Orwell's novel hits 2017's Best Seller list & Broadway season announced

George Orwell’s seminal novel 1984 is suddenly more relevant than ever and, in a stroke of synchronicity, the casting for the Australian tour of the West End smash hit production has been announced on the same day that a Broadway season of the production has been confirmed. These announcements come as sales of Orwell’s book surge in the days since President Donald Trump took
office in the US, with his office coining the phrase “alternative facts”.

Tom Conroy will play Winston in the Australian season starring alongside a cast of some of Australia’s best stage actors. Paul Blackwell, Terence Crawford, Ursula Mills, Renato Musolino, Guy O’Grady, Yalin Ozucelik and Fiona Press will play major seasons in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Perth over a four month period.

One of Australia’s actors on the rise and currently starring in Belvoir’s production of Jasper Jones, Tom Conroy says that to play the lead role as Winston couldn’t be more relevant than now.

Tom Conroy said ‘I’m thrilled and, if I’m completely honest, a little nervous to be stepping into the role of Winston Smith. He’s one of the 20th century’s great literary anti-heroes.’

‘One of the things that I love about this adaptation is that Macmillan and Icke have beautifully created a complex character who goes on a tremendous journey. I have an enormous amount of empathy for his frustration, wavering optimism, and determination to do something and be somebody. In today’s posttruth world, where ‘alternative facts’ are being openly used by the US state, I can’t think of a better play to have on our stages right now’ Conroy said.

The Olivier Award nominated production, featuring a much-lauded adaptation and direction by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, and produced by British theatre innovators Headlong, the Almeida Theatre and Nottingham Playhouse, has also been confirmed to open on Broadway in June with an American cast.

1984 has been a theatrical phenomenon and has been seen by over 400,000 people worldwide, with three hugely successful seasons in the West End, extensive UK and US touring and international festival appearances, including a totally sold-out season at the 2015 Melbourne Festival.

Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan said ‘After the warm welcome our production received at the Melbourne Festival in 2015, we’re delighted that it is returning to Australia. Even more now than last time we visited, Orwell’s dystopian vision of a surveilled and totalitarian world seems horribly relevant.’

Set in a world where an invasive government keeps a malevolently watchful eye on its citizens, the stage production of 1984 explores surveillance, identity and why Orwell’s vision of the future is as relevant now as ever. It is a timely reminder of the dangers posed by the digital age and society’s subconscious cooperation in the invasion of our own privacy.

Published in 1949, 1984 is one of the most influential novels of all time, with its depiction of perpetual war, pervasive government tracking, 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. Many of the terms coined by Orwell in the book have entered the English language, with the entity of
Big Brother becoming one of the most iconic literary inventions and potent symbols of the 20th century.

Currently, the number 1 title on Amazon’s bestseller list, 1984 has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Interest in George Orwell’s novel has spiked in recent weeks following the use of the term ‘alternative facts’ by US President Donald Trump’s advisors where comparisons were made with the term ‘newspeak’ used in the 1984 novel.

The Australian tour is spearheaded by State Theatre Company South Australia, GWB Entertainment and Ambassador Theatre Group and involves partnerships with the Adelaide Festival Centre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Sydney Theatre Company, Canberra Theatre Centre and Perth Theatre Trust.

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