The official opening is June 10. This theatrical homage will mark the 60th and 70th anniversaries, respectively, of the publication of "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and "Coming Up for Air."
A monologue version of the latter, adapted for the theatre by critic Dominic Cavendish and performed by Hal Cruttenden, will be presented alongside extracts from "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and two other Orwell works, "Shooting an Elephant" and "A Hanging." The festival will be enhanced by a complementary strand of literary events with all profits going to the human rights group Liberty, founded 75 years ago, and the Orwell Prize, the British prize for political writing.
The stage version of Coming Up for Air was originally premiered in 2008, and is described in press materials as "a creative tour de force which displays Orwell's great gift for comic writing." Set on the brink of World War Two, it tells the story of George Bowling, a middle-aged insurance man who is married with kids, saddled with a mortgage and living a henpecked life. Filled with a sense of dread about the fate awaiting England, he flees suburbia for the countryside of his childhood.
Hal Cruttenden plays George Bowling. His first stage appearance was in 1982 in Another Country at the Queen's Theatre, London with Kenneth Branagh and Rupert Everett. TV acting credits have included "EastEnders," "Shackleton" and "Kavanagh QC" and his film work includes "Mrs Dalloway." He is also known as a stand-up comedy act.
Adaptor Dominic Cavendish is deputy theatre critic for the Daily Telegraph and also its comedy critic. He is the founding editor of theatrevoice.com, the biggest online resource for audio material on contemporary British theatre. Orwell: A Celebration is directed by Gene David Kirk, Artistic Director at Jermyn Street Theatre and the Programming Director for new writing powerhouse Theatre 503 in Battersea, London. Directing credits include the world premieres of The Parallel of Paul, The Ox and the Ass, Amir: The Lost Prince of Persia (Theatre 503), Elgar and Alice (U.K. Tour), The Ash Boy (Theatre 503) and Crooked Wood (Jermyn Street Theatre). It is being produced by Doublethink Theatre and The Fish Partnership in arrangement with the Orwell Estate. Further casting is to be announced.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0870 060 6632, or visit www.ambassadortickets.com