Young performers take on two of Orwell’s classics at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Animal Farm and 1984 at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
Animal Farm and 1984 at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Taking on two of George Orwell’s iconic tales, the Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre: Act One begins by bringing Animal Farm to the Guildford stage.

The show will be performed in Mill Studio at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from Thursday to Saturday, March 17-19.

It will be directed by former Chichester Festival Youth Theatre member Lucy Betts.

When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control.

Directing Peter Hall’s musical adaptation of Animal Farm, Lucy Betts said: “It’s very unique music; it really reflects the tone of the story and adds another dimension to the show. We have a brilliant musical director, Ali McClure, and we’re very lucky that we have such talented musicians in the cast.

“As well as tackling Animal Farm, Act One is also undertaking another of George Orwell’s renowned novels, 1984. We choose to perform two George Orwell classics because we wanted to really challenge Act One and we felt that one play alone would not be enough to truly push this group.”

They stage 1984 from Thursday to Saturday, March 24-26.

Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience.

Lucy said: “Matthew Dunster’s adaptation of 1984 takes George Orwell’s classic text and transforms it into a thrilling theatrical experience that challenges the cast as well as the audience.

“It’s a powerful piece and we want to immerse the audience in the intensity of it. The set and the costumes are nondescript, industrial and stark, and we’re using a mixture of audio, video and screens to illustrate the Big Brother element.”

Lucy added: “We have a large cast that are working on both shows collectively, 36 people in total, and we’re very lucky that they’re such a strong group that have bonded so well.”

Tickets on 01483 440000 or by visiting

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