Malone University Theatre presents "Animal Farm" in honor of 75th anniversary

File Under: Events

In recognition of the 75th anniversary of George Orwell's classic novel, Malone Theatre will present their online production of “ANIMAL FARM: A Fable in Two Acts” adapted by Nelson Bond in collaboration with Translations Art Gallery and Stark Library.

This ‘illustrated radio play’ will feature the faces and voices of student actors, music, sound effects, and visual artwork created by 52 artists from around the country.

“This is a challenging time for artists, and theatre productions are much different than film productions, so we wanted to find a creative and effective way for Malone students to keep making theatre in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Craig Joseph, theatre director in residence.

In an effort to execute theatre by non-traditional means beyond what Zoom-like platforms can accomplish, production choice was particularly important.

“I wanted to select just the right piece for this fall that could translate well to an alternative format,” he said. “A ‘readers theatre,’ where actors basically read the script while seated on stools, doesn’t work with every production, but it works with ‘Animal Farm.’ Orwell’s work is also politically-relevant during this election year, so I knew many layers of learning could occur as I worked with our students on this piece.”

The production is part of a broader initiative in the Canton community: a partnership with Translations Art Gallery and Stark Library, featuring an art exhibit, book groups, lectures, and discussions. More information about all of these events, including Malone’s production, is available at

“The exhibit features different scenes from the book and different types of media, all spread out through the library, so it’s social-distance friendly,” said Joseph. “Sometimes, in our production, the faces and voices of our students will appear, and images from the art gallery will be folded in as we move through the script.”

The online production will be recorded in real time and supplemented with live and recorded sound effects and original and prerecorded music.

“It’s a fully-sensory experience, without the stage and blocking, so we hope that it will be new and exciting for patrons of Malone Theatre,” he said.

“Animal Farm” will be available over two weekends - November 13-14 and November 20-21. Tickets can be purchased and reserved online. They are free for Malone students and $5 for general admission. When purchasing, ticket holders will select a date and then - on that date at 12:01 AM – they will receive an emailed link to view the performance anytime during that 24-hour period before midnight.

When asked, “What are you learning about yourself as an actor by participating in ‘Animal Farm?’” Malone student actors responded:

“I need to be able to adapt in my work for stage or film. All jobs require flexibility and this job is no different. It is my responsibility as an actor to learn from our circumstance and put my best foot forward as we entertain God’s people, even in these uncertain times.” Keon Dalziel ‘22

“I am learning how much voice inflection impacts a production. As someone who is used to seeing theatre as a visual art that relies on physicality, this experience has deepened my understanding of how much can be conveyed through vocals alone.” Tyler Kirker ‘22

“I am learning how to use my voice as an instrument to convey emotion and bring the audience into the world of the play. I now know I can’t just rely on blocking, gestures, costuming, or sets to help tell the story and create a vivid picture. ‘Animal Farm’ has been such a unique experience and I know that I am growing as an actor.” Julia Robinson ‘24

“I am learning a lot about acting for a camera rather than for a live audience. It is important to capture even little details that I sometimes struggle to convey on the stage to an audience. As a result, I feel as though I am becoming more whole as an actor.” Josof Ruttig ‘23

“I've learned a lot about myself as a physical actor, and how attached I am to the usual blocking and proximity that theatre brings. I've been a dancer my whole life, and so this filmed radio-drama style is a greatly-rewarding challenge to grow through.” Christian Sanko ’20

“My participation in ‘Animal Farm’ has opened my eyes to the importance of the voice in regards to live theater. Actors tend to commonly depend on physical acting for emphasis and exaggeration, but here, physicality is very limited and it has allowed me to recognize the true potential and ability of a voice alone to convey a story.” Alaina Smith ‘24

“I am learning how to step out of my comfort zone as an actor and how to work in a smaller cast. I’ve never acted in a cast this small before so this is a unique opportunity.” Emma Wiseman ‘23