George Orwell's 1984 set to invade Warrnambool's Lighthouse Theatre

Big Brother is watching in the stage production of 1984, set to be performed at the Lighthouse Theatre on Friday night.

Big Brother is watching in the stage production of 1984, set to be performed at the Lighthouse Theatre on Friday night.

FEW novels are as influential, disturbing and prescient as George Orwell’s ground-breaking 1984.

With its ominous warning that Big Brother is watching us, the book is even more timely and important now than it was when it was published in 1949.

It’s fitting then that award-winning theatre company Shake & Stir has brought 1984 to the stage as part of a national tour.

“The parallels between what Orwell explored and what we are experiencing in the 21st century are frighteningly accurate — and not just in politics but in many facets of modern living,” co-artistic director and co-adaptor Nick Skubij said. 

Shake & Stir are experienced with tackling Orwell’s work, having won the Matilda Award in 2011 for best independent production for their staging of Animal Farm.

“Following the success of our Animal Farm national tour last year, we are thrilled to be presenting another production that is just as visceral, thought-provoking and appealing to audiences of all ages around the country once more,” Skubij said.

The story is set in a country constantly at war (or so the people are told), where cameras watch your every move and the Thought Police can come and take you away when you least expect it.

Despite the controlling environment, Ministry of Truth employee Winston Smith dares to engage in a forbidden love affair — risking the wrath of the Thought Police, the ironically named Ministry of Love, and the illusive overlord Big Brother. 

“It’s our aim to keep the story as dark, twisted and grotesque as it can be,” Skubij said. “It’s Big Brother meets Saw 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 — we are blurring the lines between reality and horror.” 

Shake & Stir first performed their adaption to rapturous reviews in 2012 and are now amid a run of more than 30 dates around Australia.

1984 will be performed at Warrnambool’s Lighthouse Theatre on Friday night at 8pm.

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