THE GEORGE ORWELL FESTIVAL
Statement of Intent
1. A steering committee has formed to promote a unique event entitled “The George Orwell Festival”, to take place in Letchworth and the nearby village of Wallington. Orwell lived in Wallington for a number of years, from 1936 and wrote some of his most famous books while he was there. It is hoped that the event will become a recurring one.
2. The idea is to celebrate not just the man and his writings but his ideas and their relevance to people today. We think that there is inspiration for our times in the themes which he pursued.
3. We want the festival to be a literary one but one which not only looks at what Orwell wrote but also a festival for contemporary writing at the kind of subjects he addressed, a festival of ideas: challenging, topical, controversial.
4. We plan to show these themes in a variety of media, from a staged version of Animal Farm, in Wallington, in the very context that inspired the places and scenery described in the book of that name, to a series of films based on his books and some current ones, to exhibitions, debates and presentations, perhaps an evening of comedy and satire. We aim to have competitions, such as a “Young Orwell Prize” and walking tours to introduce places associated in the area.
5. We want to engage people of the town and of the village, as contributors and participants and people from anywhere who are moved by these ideas, and to reach out to an international dimension. Orwell was born in India and worked in Burma and was outspoken in criticising the imperialism of his time, and he served as a volunteer in Spain in the first European war against fascism.
6. We have a committee of people with varied backgrounds, interests, experience and skills. [[We propose to form a charitable entity with the usual and proper legal formalities for the protection of assets and accountability of those involved. We are currently considering a company limited by guarantee may be the most appropriate legal vehicle, and are garnering the best advice available to us to help with this.
7. The steering committee currently has a convenor in Richard Hallmark who initiated the project and shortly officers will need to be appointed. The contact point and meeting place of the committee is at present David's Bookshop, Eastcheap, Letchworth, and meetings are held regularly and are minuted. ]]
8. We anticipate that the event will attract enough interest and support to justify our hope that it will become a recurring event, perhaps every two years or so. That part remains to be seen.
9. We intend to raise funds to cover the costs of the various events from a variety of sources – institutional, corporate and business sponsorship, advertising, and ticket sales. We have prepared a preliminary presence on the internet and begun establishing some of the processes by which to announce ourselves and the event.