Insert Logo Here

2014-2015 Season

Imagine and Discover

Main Stage performances are at the New Hazlett Theatre Center for Performing Arts

Performances are typically 2 hours long.

Showtimes: Friday & Saturday @ 8:00 PM
Sunday @ 2:30 PM



Animal Farm

by Andrew Periale
based on the novella by George Orwell

Directed by Melissa Grande
March 6, 2015 - March 15, 2015





back next

Photos by Rebecca Antal Mutschler



Melissa Grande

Animal Farm in “Our Land”

George Orwell’s dystopian novella “Animal Farm” was written as a satire of the Russian Revolution, but he intended it to be universal and timeless. Playwright Andrew Periale placed the script in the Yorkshire, England countryside, and it’s a fitting location for the story. As I read the play, however, I couldn’t get the music of Appalachia and the struggles of early 20th century coal miners – especially in neighboring West Virginia – out of my mind. The parallels between the suffering and the rebellions that each group experienced were uncanny, so setting the story in this region rather than in a foreign land connected me to the story in a deeper and more personal way.

I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Periale in the spring of 2014, and he graciously allowed me to relocate the story to “our land”. Throughout rehearsals, his guidance and assistance have been instrumental in the process of bringing this particular production of his play to life, and I am grateful to him for the trust he has placed in me by putting his work in my hands to interpret.

As it turned out, not much had to be changed to move this story from Yorkshire to Appalachia. A few words were replaced: “England” became “Our Land,” “knacker” became “butcher,” and British dialect was abandoned. But the history of the coal miners that first haunted me when I read this play still inspires me as we are nearing opening. Like the animals under both Jones and the pigs, the miners were exploited and mistreated by the mining companies, who effectively controlled their lives. Working conditions were deplorable, and if a miner didn’t develop black lung from breathing in the stale air, he might be crushed by a falling rock or blasted in an explosion caused by gases trapped underground. Rebellions, including the Matewan Massacre and the Battle of Blair Mountain, were bloody and ultimately effected little change, especially as the government backed the mining companies.

Whatever the setting – Russian Revolution, Yorkshire Countryside, Appalachian Coal Country, the Middle East, or Middle Earth –  another Jones or Napoleon is never far away. It is up to everyone to pay attention and be actively engaged in their communities to have any hope for peace and equality for all.



The Hazlett Theater Performing Arts Center where Prime Stage performs is accessible for people with disabilities.  For information on seating and/or to request an ASL signed student matinee performance, please email Prime Stage at