Press release: Play returns George Orwell to his Hertfordshire homepatch

September 5, 2011 – Letchworth, Hertfordshire, UK.  Special performances
of an acclaimed one-man show about the life of writer George Orwell will
be staged on Sunday 18 September at the Hertfordshire village church where Orwell
himself was married. Matinee (2.30pm) and evening (7.30pm) performances of
‘The Last Man in Europe’ will be staged in St Mary, Wallington, as the
gala closing event of the George Orwell Festival 2011.

Written and performed by acclaimed actor Michael McEvoy, ‘The Last Man in
Europe’ is a compelling portrayal of the extraordinary life of the author
who in his influential novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ introduced the
concepts of Big Brother, Room 101, and Thoughtcrime, and whose
best-selling fable ‘Animal Farm’ was partly inspired by settings in and
around the Wallington of the 1930s. George Orwell died in 1950, aged 46.

“This is the first time ‘The Last Man in Europe’ has been performed in the
very village that Orwell moved to in 1936,” says Michael McEvoy. “He was
married in St Mary church in June of that year, and then lived close-by.
This lends tremendous resonance to these Festival performances.”

McEvoy adds, “I have been a George Orwell fan all my life. Orwell was an
extraordinary personality who used his rare talent for simple, clear
writing to bring social wrongs to public attention. I wrote the play to
get a handle on the writer’s motives. Why did he suddenly go off to Burma
as a policeman? Why did he go tramping round Britain, posing as a
down-and-out? What made him go off and fight in the Spanish Civil War?
And, of course, why did he write what he wrote? Orwell has had several
biographers, but I feel that there are certain aspects of his character
that can be best explored through dramatic realisation.”

McEvoy wrote the play also to address some myths that have arisen around
Orwell and his most famous books: “Orwell himself once said that good
writing should be ‘like a window pane’. My intention in this play is to
provide a clear window into the mind of this remarkable man.”

Tickets for ‘The Last Man in Europe’ are priced £10.00, and are available
from Letchworth Garden City Tourist Information Centre (33-35 Station
Road, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, SG6 3BB (Tel: +44 (0)1462
487868 / tic@letchworth.com), David’s Bookshop
(info@davids-bookshops.co.uk), or online from the event’s webpage –
http://georgeorwellfestival.org/?page_id=698.

Print-resolution quality photographs of Michael McEvoy in performance and
visiting St Mary church, Wallington, by award-winning Letchworth-based photographer Paul Louis Archer are available for press and media use
– contact James Hayes, Festival co-ordinator, at the contact points below.

ABOUT MICHAEL McEVOY
Actor and writer Michael McEvoy has made many stage and screen
appearances. ‘The Last Man in Europe’ was first seen at the International
Performing Arts Festival in Lahore, Pakistan. He has since presented the
play in Edinburgh, Prague, Paris, and London. He has written solo shows on
William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Vincent van Gogh, all performed
with great success in the UK and around the world. Aside from solo
productions, his recent theatre includes ‘Beckett and the Philosophers’,
‘Breaking the Code’ and ‘Black Comedy’. Michael appeared as Rupert Murdoch
in ‘The New Prime Minister’ at the Cochrane Theatre during the 2010
general election campaign. Michael is a founder-member of touring company
the Globe Players, with whom he has played many classical roles. His
television work includes ‘Chambers’, ‘The Bill’, and ‘Watching the
Detectives’.

ABOUT THE GEORGE ORWELL FESTIVAL
The George Orwell Festival 2011 takes place September 9-18 in Letchworth
Garden City and the nearby village of Wallington, where Orwell lived. The
Festival is a community-based multi-streamed week of events celebrating
the life and work of this respected and influential author. It will
showcase staged adaptations of Orwell’s stories, themed debates, an
academic symposium, art exhibitions, comedy evenings, themed talks, and
much more. Well-known speakers from the fields of literature, media, and
culture, are appearing. http://georgeorwellfestival.org

FESTIVAL INFORMATION AND CONTACTS:
James Hayes – Festival co-ordinator
Tel: +44 (0)777 3705894 / email: james.hayes@georgeorwellfestival.org

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