The chanting sheep who will feature in Creation's Animal Farm

Picture this if you can, the United Reformed Church in Summertown packed with locals, all dressed in black and white, wearing baseball caps that say ‘Make Animal Farm Great Again’ while chanting ‘four legs are better than two’.

Which can only mean one thing of course, Creation is back in town, and throwing its considerable energy and imagination into their new production, George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

‘When we read Vanessa’s adaption of Animal Farm we knew we had to do it. she’s a globally acclaimed playwright whose script is full of satire, warmth and humour’

But rather than a dank, depressing revisiting of the dystopian classic, you can expect a vibrant, effervescent, humorous and zany adaption, complete with videography, stunning sets, hilarious costumes and obviously chanting sheep.

And with Australian playwright Vanessa Badham‘s thrilling adaption to hand, you can expect the usual Creation magic to unfold.

Creation’s Animal Farm

Artistic Director and Chief Executive Helen Eastman said: “When we heard that Vanessa had adapted Animal Farm we knew we had to do it. Not only is she a globally acclaimed playwright but her script is full of satire, warmth and humour.

“So we ran through the script with our rep company and everyone instantly agreed that we needed to stage it immediately because it is so pertinent for our political landscape right now.

‘it is so pertinent for our political landscape right now’

“The first half is riotously satirical, which is really funny, and then the second half descends into the reality of the political climate. And because it’s Vanessa’s adaption it’s so smart and clever and funny, and explodes on stage.

“And with the rise of Trump, the upcoming UK elections, a global surge for the far right and Putin’s domination, it feels like the right time to be staging this now, so this is very much set from a news perspective with reporters and news teams rushing around, while staying true to Orwell’s classic.”

Creation’s Animal Farm

Which is? “Essentially Animal Farm is a political fable about a new political elite enforcing the same cycles of oppression, as demonstrated by an entire gallery of animals from pigs to goats, ravens, ponies and horses. But there is nothing twee about this adaption, which is really fun with original music by Alex Silverman which matches the vibe perfectly,” Helen explains.

‘we want to bring people together while leaving the audience with a few things to think about’

“So if you don’t know the story already, or you do and you were put off at school, this is so engaging and entertaining and we want to bring people together while leaving the audience with a few things to think about.”

Currently rehearsing in the United Reformed Church, currently also doubling up as a local arts centre, Helen says Creation has been really welcomed, and the whole company now feels part of the community, especially when they needed an audience to record the sheep chanting.

“The church was packed with volunteers, we couldn’t believe it. It’s a moment I will never forget,” Helen adds.

Creation’s Animal Farm

Vanessa Balham writes regularly for The Guardian and is an Australian writer, activist, playwright, journalist and novelist.

Animal Farm runs at United Reformed Church, Summertown, from April 24 – May 11. Age recommendation 12+. Book here

Full review to follow.