YOUNG actors from the Stratford area will be balancing out their act when they use stilts to become animals in George Orwell's Animal Farm.

In order to understand the background of the story, the 35 actors have also been carrying out historical research.

The Carpe Diem production of Animal Farm, an adaptation by Sir Peter Hall, is a satirical allegory of the Russian revolution, directed against Stalin's Russia.

Director Sarah Barker-Doherty said: "It's a very poignant story and there are so many lessons in history that you can relate to - there are also some lessons to learn about human nature. Everyone in the cast has had to learn what each character represents and so have really had to do a lot of social and historical research.

The production is also very physically challenging. The children have had to learn how to use arm stilts so that they can become the animals and walk on four legs."

Animal Farm tells the story of the animals of Manor Farm who have a dream of fair working conditions and pay, a dream that is realised when they overthrow the farmer and run the farm as a collective.

However, the idealistic vision rapidly turns into a totalitarian nightmare.

The book, which at heart is a story about human beings and their treatment of each other, was written in the 1940s, when Stalin was regarded as a friend and ally.

As a fable or fairy story, its message can be translated to apply to many social and political circumstances.

The production takes place at Stratford Civic Hall tomorrow at 7.30pm, Saturday at 2pm and 7.30pm, and Sunday, January 30 at 2pm.

For tickets ring the box office on 01789 207100.