Join the revolution with Northern Ballet's World Premiere of 1984


As one man risks everything to fall in love, join Northern Ballet for the World Première of
Jonathan Watkins’ 1984. Recently awarded Best Company at the European Taglioni Ballet
Awards, Northern Ballet is bringing this cult-classic to life with the World Première at the
West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds from 5 – 12 September 2015. This thought-provoking
tale of love and betrayal will also tour nationally in autumn 2015 and spring 2016.

Choreographed by Jonathan Watkins, whose recent credits include Kes for Sheffield
Crucible Theatre, Northern Ballet’s 1984 is the first full-length ballet adaptation of George
Orwell’s renowned novel. The production is set to an original score by Tony nominated
Composer and Arranger Alex Baranowski, who recently worked with Mercury Prize winning
band The xx. The creative team also includes Set and Costume Designer Simon Daw,
whose work includes productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Opera
House and Rambert Dance Company; Dramaturg Ruth Little, previously Literary Manager of
The Royal Court Theatre; and Lighting Designer Chris Davey, well known for his work in
dance and theatre including collaborations with Matthew Bourne.

In the production, Ministry of Truth worker Winston Smith lives in a world of absolute
conformity, his every action scrutinised by Big Brother. Whilst outwardly conforming to Party
doctrine, he is secretly disillusioned, illegally documenting his thoughts in a diary. When one
day he receives a love note from Julia, a colleague he suspected on spying on him for the
Thought Police, the pair instead begin an illicit affair leading a dangerous double life putting
physical desire above Party discipline. As their romance develops and they prepare for an
act of political rebellion, Winston and Julia discover that Big Brother is always watching and
no one can be trusted; least of all themselves

Jonathan Watkins said: ‘George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four has been a constant
inspiration to me since I first read it at 15. It is a powerful and thought-provoking allegory that
now, more than ever, has resonance with the times in which we are living.

I am excited to be working with Northern Ballet and a wonderful creative team to realise this
new full-length ballet for the audiences of today and I look forward to exploring through
dance, music and film, a new way of seeing this modern classic.’

Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, said: ‘Jonathan is an exciting
choreographic talent and I am delighted that he accepted my invitation to create 1984 with
us. This production promises to challenge the idea of what stories can be told through dance
and the dramatic talent of our dancers will draw the audience into the very core of this
literary masterpiece.’

Tickets for the World Première of Northern Ballet’s 1984 are on sale now and can be
booked online at or by calling the box office on 0113 213 7700.

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