Tia Ormsby (right) and Madeleine Walker cast as "Child" in 1984

1984 girls pic

Two young Kiwi actors have been given an experience of a lifetime, being cast in the international theatre production of George Orwell’s 1984, coming to Auckland Arts Festival in March in association with Auckland Theatre Company.

The radical, international award-winning production comes to New Zealand after smash-hit seasons on Broadway, the West End and in Australia.

Tia Ormsby and Madeleine Walker, who auditioned last year, will share the role of “Child” – a suspicious and ill-mannered juvenile who is a member of Big Brother’s Junior Spies.

Neither are strangers to the stage. Ormsby had a leading role (Debbie) in the Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) production of Billy Elliot the Musical among other plays, ads and dance productions. Walker played the lead child role in Emily Perkins’ adaptation of A Doll’s House, also by ATC, has played Annie in an amateur production and has won awards for speech and drama, and singing.

The young actors’ preparation isn’t simply in the usual sense of learning lines and learning to embody their characters. Ormsby and Walker will have to prepare themselves mentally for the significant sound and lighting elements of the show which have made it so mind-blowing for audiences across the world.

Set in a world where an invasive government keeps a malevolently watchful eye on its citizens, this radical and much-lauded staging explores surveillance, identity and why Orwell’s vision of the future is as relevant now as ever.

Produced by UK theatrical innovators Headlong along with Nottingham Playhouse and the Almeida Theatre, George Orwell’s dystopian classic came roaring onto the stage in 2013 and since then it has become an international phenomenon

Now, Auckland Arts Festival has teamed up with GWB Entertainment, the State Theatre Company of South Australia and Auckland Theatre Company to present the New Zealand premiere of this extraordinary theatrical experience. The critically and publicly acclaimed production was adapted and directed by Olivier Award-winner Robert Icke and Olivier Award-nominee Duncan Macmillan.

On their upcoming experience, Ormsby says, “I haven’t read the book yet, of course, but understand how popular it is and how huge this stage play version is. I’m very excited to be part of it.”

Walker says, “This character is very different for me. I’ve never played anybody quite so scary. It’s going to be lots of fun and I can’t wait.”

They will play alongside an experienced cast of largely Australian actors, aside from one other Kiwi – Simon London (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Go Girls) who plays the role of Charrington.

1984 runs almost the entire duration of the Auckland Arts Festival, 9-25 March, at Auckland’s  ASB Waterfront Theatre. For details and tickets click here