NE director to tour children’s version of Orwell classic

Published: 4 March 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The Children's Theatre Partnership
Animal Farm pre-publicity
Robert Icke Credit: Manuel Harlan

NE director Robert Icke, who comes from Stockton, is to tour a children’s version of Orwell’s Animal Farm for the Children’s Theatre Partnership.

The production, which will tour the UK from 2022, will be designed by multi-award winning Bunny Christie (A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Bridge Theatre, Company at the Gielgud, Ink at the Duke of York’s, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the National Theatre) and will feature puppetry by Toby Olié (Running Wild on tour with the CTP, The Grinning Man for Bristol Old Vic and War Horse for the National Theatre).

“I'm thrilled to be working on another of Orwell's seminal classics,” said Icke. “I could not be more excited to bring this important and timely story to a broad and diverse audience across the UK and work alongside two of the industry's most talented artists, Bunny and Toby.”

Icke is a director whose awards include the UK Theatre Award, the Critics' Circle Award and the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Director. He is also the youngest ever winner of the Olivier Award for Best Director.

He began his career at the age of 16 running his own youth theatre company from 2003 to 2008 which performed, among others, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Richard III, An Inspector Calls and Journey’s End at ARC Stockton.

Since then, he has worked with Headlong on Decade, Romeo and Juliet on tour, Boys and 1984 which transferred to Broadway in 2017.

From 2013 to 2019, he worked at the Almeida in Islington, first as Associate and then as Director, and his productions included The Doctor (also West End, Adelaide Festival and national tour), The Wild Duck, Mary Stuart (also West End), Uncle Vanya, Oresteia (also West End), Hamlet (also West End and BBC2), The Fever and Mr Burns.

His most recent work includes The Crucible (Theater Basel), Oedipus (Toneelgroep Amsterdam and Edinburgh International Festival) and Orestie (Schauspiel Stuttgart, awarded the Kurt-Hübner-Regiepreis). His future work includes (Schauspiel Stuttgart), Ivanov (Schauspiel Stuttgart), Children of Nora (Toneelgroep Amsterdam) and Oedipus (West End).

CTP has successfully produced and toured five shows and brought two to the West End. It has developed a network of supportive large-scale venues, reaching over 500,000 people. Previous CTP productions include the Olivier Award-winning Goodnight Mr Tom, which enjoyed a successful West End run and three UK tours, a West End and UK tour production of Swallows and Amazons, a UK tour of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and a UK tour of Michael Morpurgo's Running Wild, followed by a UK tour of The Jungle Book.

Thanks to Arts Council England, CTP has funding for three new shows, Holes (currently on tour), Unexpected Twist and Animal Farm.

The Children's Theatre Partnership is supported using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and is managed by Fiery Angel.

Further information about the production and the full 2022 tour schedule will be announced in due course.