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Criterion Theatre
1984 (2024)
Written by Robert Icke/Duncan Macmillan
Sat 19th October to Sat 26th October
Director – Stephen Brown

A critically acclaimed adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian novel. 1984 follows a group of historians as they discover the diary of Comrade 6079, Winston Smith. In a world where all citizens are closely watched by Big Brother, Winston’s life is jeopardised when he suddenly falls in love and begins to think free thoughts that threaten the scarily controlling government. 

Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary, and falls in love. But Big Brother is watching him, and the door to Room 101 can swing open in the blink of an eye.

George Orwell’s chilling vision of the future is brought to life on the Criterion stage for the first time. A tale of oppression, control and rebellion, as relevant today as it was when first published in 1949.

Reviews of the Play

"Ultimately any adaption needs to do something better, different or more thought-provokingly than the book. In this case, it is the stark latter scenes...stripped back to their brutal moving parts and most galling revelations." Kate Hennessy, The Guardian.

"The inventiveness of the production’s approach and stagecraft make for a vivid adaptation as accomplished as it is audacious. " David Benedict, Variety.

Casting Information

Winston Smith: Male, 30+           

Julia (Waitress): Female, 30+

O’Brien: Male/Female, 35-50+     

Charrington (Host): Male/Female, 50+

Syme (Man): Male/Female, 25+  

Parsons (Father): Male/Female, 40+

Mrs Parsons (Mother): Female, 40+                           

Martin: Male/Female, 18 - 25

Child: Male/Female, 18+

Video casting Information

Goldstein: Male/Female, 40+

Thoughtcriminal: Male/Female, 20+

‘Telescreen’ (voice only): Male/Female, 20+

‘Exercise Instructor’ (voice only): Female, 20+

Open Reading : Sunday 12th May 2024 at 14:00 in the Theatre bar. All welcome, including those who just like to hear a play read aloud.

Open Auditions: Sunday 19th May 2024 at 14:00 / Sunday 26th May 2024 at 14:00.  Auditions are open to all and you do not have to be a Criterion member.

Audition pieces, and alternative arrangements for auditions are available on request from the director Stephen Brown. Contact directly via email -

EDI Assessment

1984 has no specific diversity message within its narrative. The play can be cast with complete neutrality on race/ethnicity. On the character notes, there are indications where specific playing gender identifications are called for, however some characters can be cast gender-neutrally. Playing ages are suggested.

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