George Orwell wrote ‘Down & Out in Paris and London’ in response to his own experiences of poverty, homelessness and living on the edge of society in the two cities.
The book which was published in 1933 is being given a modern twist in ‘Down & Out: Live’, an immersive production which focuses on the issues of homelessness in both the past and the present day.
The production included readings by people who have experienced homelessness, politicians, artists, celebrities and activists. It uses a combination of music, story-telling, film and performance. This event will fuse live art and social activism in an outburst of theatre, music and literature. The performance will form the backbone of a narrative that explores and reveals what homelessness is, how it manifests and what damage is does to the individual and to society at large.
Some of The Connection’s clients were involved in the production and share how they felt about it.
Why Did you get involved?
“I became involved in this project when I got an invitation from Kaz at The Connection. I thought this real life history was based on good George Orwell’s life and it related to me in many ways. It will be a showcase full of inspiring performances based on homelessness. In this show I’ll be one of the readers.
I am delighted to be part of this exciting project because it reflects on my own homelessness and life experience. It’s possible to believe that with great effort and the right help and support one can get out of it.”
Why did you get involved?
“Things went horribly wrong for me and I ended up homeless. I had preconceived ideas about homelessness but was quickly proved wrong. I’m involved because I want to break those stereotypes about homelessness.”
I’ll be doing two things in the performance. I’ll be reading a passage from Down & Out and I’ve also written a piece as the finale to the performance.”
If you missed the event don’t worry you can watch it on youtube
The event is a collaboration between The Orwell Foundation, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Libby Brodie Productions and UCL’s Festival of Culture. It is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.