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Animal Farm

When a group of farm animals have had jack of humans running the show, they decide to take things into their own hands, revolting against the self-serving greed of humans to seek a better life. The pigs have assumed control on Manor Farm, with all animals fuelled by enthusiastic camaraderie and guided by a set of self-imposed rules. But it’s not long before these rules become the shackles that bind them once again.

This multi-award winning, critically acclaimed interpretation – created by Queensland’s shake & stir and directed by Michael Futcher – is set to be one of the most shocking, relevant and wickedly funny theatre events of 2021.

Futcher says, although penned many moons ago, the play still holds significant relevance today.

“It’s a story that was written in the 1940s about the abuse of power, about how the common people can be manipulated and lied to, and how revolutions can be corrupted. All of these things George Orwell was writing about then, I feel, are still so relevant to today,” he says.

“The thing about the way the story has been created is that it is so accessible for a modern audience, a general public type audience – you don’t have to be au fait with literature or Orwell, the story stands on its own.”

Although the characters are animals, Futcher has steered clear of typical costumes.

“We decided very early on that we wouldn’t try to look like animals, per se, because we thought it would almost become a bit like a children’s pantomime … we’ve decided to use a sort of minimalistic form of theatre where the style we are using is highly physical,” he says.

“Even though the actor is not dressed like an animal, the actor gives the impression of the animal because they are physicalising it and also vocalising, to a degree. The audience will get a sense of the animal, and sometimes, it does actually sound like a farmyard!”

Kicking off the tour in New South Wales back in April, the shake & stir cast and crew have been lucky to sneak in a few appearances across the country without too many hiccups. With their regional Victorian leg shelved due to obvious reasons, they’re champing at the bit to get to Darwin.

“They’ll be really raring to go by the time we get to Darwin, let me tell you! We have a wonderful creative team that have contributed to the show. The actors obviously carry the story but we have such an amazing team in Josh McIntosh as the designer, Guy Webster with an amazing soundscape and Jason Glenwright’s lighting, which is so organic, it follows the subtleties and nuances of the scenes so well.

“These three wonderful creatives demonstrate what I think is the wonderful thing about shake & stir, in that they’re a company of great collaboration … all of the team is involved from day one, even before day one, before rehearsals even start.”

Animal Farm
TUE 12 OCT 10.30AM & 7.30PM
COST $42 | $38 MEMB/CONC | $30 STUD

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