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20 Questions with... 1984's Tim Dutton

Headlong's new adaptation of George Orwell's seminal novel ''1984'' has been winning rave reviews on its current UK tour. We recently caught up with cast member Tim Dutton, who plays the enigmatic O'Brien

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Tim Dutton and Mark Arends in 1984

Where did you grow up?

What were you like as a child?

What made you become an actor?
Playing the Second Field Mouse in Wind in the Willows - loved it.

Who were your early heroes?
JPR Williams,a legendary Welsh Rugby Player, and Viv Richards and Ian Botham, both legendary cricketers.

If you hadn't become an actor what might you have done professionally?
Would like to have become a pilot – always wanted to fly

First Big Break?
John Gale and Sam Mendes casting me in a Chichester Festival Season, which was my first job.

Career Highlight to Date
To be still doing enjoyable and varied work

What was the first thing you saw on stage that had a big impact on you?
Seeing Ben Kingsley in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the RSC in 1979.

And the Last?
Jonathan Pryce in Macbeth.

Why did you want to get involved in this new interpretation of 1984?
I loved the adaptation and wanted to work with Headlong.

Do the many hi-tech elements make it more challenging and precise to perform?
Yes – each of us has to focus 100% for the entire show, off stage, backstage and on. It makes it a very satisfying ensemble piece.

Were you a fan of the novel before getting involved?
I read it for O-Level and I didn't really appreciate it, but I revisited it for the show and rediscovered what an extraordinary book it really is.

What do you think drives your character of O'Brien?

Favourite line in the play?
"The thing that he was about to do was open a diary. If detected, it would be punished by death."

How are you enjoying the tour so far?

How do you unwind?
With my family.

Do you often get recognised and if so, for what role?
Sometimes. It varies and depends on what has been repeated on TV that week.

If you could swap places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
Graeme Swann, on the third day of an Ashes test, on a turning wicket.

Favourite Film
The Big Lebowski

What's next
Shooting TV pilot called Chokepoint and a possible play in the New Year.

1984 continues its UK tour. For more info and venues, click here.