The Orwell Foundation and UCL Festival of Culture present 1984 Live

An Event by Jean Seaton, published by The Orwell Prize

The Orwell Prize, where Jean Seaton is Director, brought together over 50 leading cultural figures to read sections of 1984 alongside members of the public to create the UK’s first ever live reading, on the site of the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth – Senate House. The reading was offered as an act of subversion in itself, an included immersive staged elements, submerging audiences in the world of Big Brother, IngSoc and The Party. Using projection and actors from UCL, the audience were able to absorb the intrigue and horror of 1984.

The reading was directed by Hannah Price and produced by Libby Brodie Productions.

1984 Live was part of the UCL Festival of Culture 2017 a week-long festival, comprising talks, workshops and exhibitions, set to challenge your thinking and offer new ways of understanding our world.

Libraries and Theatres across the country screened the reading and organised satellite events and activities – see below for more information.


Jean Seaton

About Jean Seaton

Jean Seaton is Professor of Media History and the Official Historian of the BBC. She will publish in the Autumn of 2024 the next volume of the Corporations story, Holding the Line: the BBC and the Nation, taking Lord Asa Briggs work forward for Profile Books. This involves everything the BBC did in a tumultuous decade from the conflict in Northern Ireland, to the invasion of the Falklands, to Not the Nine O'Clock News, the Proms, the early music revolution, devolution, Dennis Potter's greatest plays, Attenborough's revolutionary series Life on Earth, and Radio 1s most influential moment, as well as the role of women in the Corporation, programmes for children and a tense and complicated relationship with the government. The historian was given privileged access to BBC archives, but also gained privileged access to state papers. For the first time the Corporation's history is seen in the round. It has depended on several hundred interviews, and explores both the programme making decision that go into the making of an iconic Television series like John le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but also the high politics around the imposition of the broadcasting ban.


Jean Seaton
15 June 2017
Published By
The Orwell Prize
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