1984 with Edward Snowden and Joseph Thompson

23rd Apr 2021 6:00pm (BST)

Premiere broadcast + on demand

The broadcast will begin on 23rd Apr 2021 6:00pm (BST) with on-demand video available for 30 days after the show.

New European Ensemble and Greengage present 1984, a gripping original film based on George Orwell's classic novel. Featuring Edward Snowden, Joseph Thompson, and Mihkel Kerem's new ensemble piece based on the novel.

Watch the trailer

This film features US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, actor Joseph Thompson and Estonian composer Mihkel Kerem's new ensemble piece inspired by the novel.

The premiere is on Friday April 23 at 18:00 BST exclusively on OnJam.tv. After the premiere, it will be available to watch on demand. 

Snowden introduces the film and plays a small theatrical role in it. He speaks via video link in Russia, where he lives in exile from the US after leaking documents in 2013 revealing the extent to which the American NSA was recording the electronic communications of ordinary citizens.

Emlyn Stam, artistic director of New European Ensemble, said: “Mihkel Kerem’s illustrative piece along with our performance in 1984 give emotional weight to abstract topics like privacy, data collection and authoritarian populism. This allows the ensemble to pursue its mission to present contemporary repertoire in a compelling and accessible way to a broad audience.”

Current Affairs and 1984

In Snowden’s words: “Increasingly we lose our seat at the table and our ability to steer the future and all of these processes begin from the corruption of language which was Orwell’s greatest fear.”

The lengths to which governments and corporations are prepared to go to intercept and record our communications demonstrates the relevance of 1984 in our time. Today’s technology has made it possible to engage in mass surveillance and is a step in the direction of the dystopia Orwell warned us about. 


Text: George Orwell

Directors: Gijs Besseling, Sophie Hunter, Emlyn Stam

Winston and O'Brien: Joseph Thompson

Presentation: Edward Snowden

Music and conductor: Mihkel Kerem

Cello solo: Willem Stam

Ensemble: New European Ensemble

Duration: 65 minutes

With thanks to the Netherlands Performing Art Fund, The City of The Hague and the Kersjesfonds. 

Please note: This film is in English. New European Ensemble has created another version of this film in Dutch.

About New European Ensemble

New European Ensemble (NEuE) is made up of devoted musicians from across Europe and focuses on reaching a broad array of audiences with performances of high quality new music. NEuE was founded in 2009 and is based in The Hague.

The ensemble’s mission is to present contemporary and 20th century music in an accessible and appealing fashion by combining music with film, literature, dance, theatre and visual art. 

The New European Ensemble aims to use this project to illustrate new music’s relevance to society.

Edward Snowden in 1984

New European Ensemble perform Mihkel Kerem's new composition

Joseph Thompson as Winston and O'Brien

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