Brighton Festival 2019Public booking opens: Fri 24 Feb, 9am

The end of the world will be broadcast from Worthing in Brighton Festival 2020 theatre show

The classic science fiction story, The War of the Worlds is playfully reimagined for the Fake News generation.


Adapted by Rhum and Clay Theatre Company, the show comes to Worthing’s Connaught Theatre next May as part of Brighton Festival 2020. Inspired by H.G. Wells’ novel and Orson Welles’ legendary 1938 radio broadcast, the production has been playfully reimagined for the fake news generation and will leave audiences questioning the grey area between truth and fiction and the dangerously seductive power of a good story.

Rhum and Clay connect Welles’ broadcast with a modern-day podcaster who is researching an old family secret. The cast of four actors take the audience on a journey through time, from an era when breaking news was shared live on-air to today’s clickbait headlines and twitter trends. The play takes the form of a series of news broadcasts, using recordings from the 1938 radio drama, as well as references to Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film adaption.


Matthew Wells, co-Artistic Director of Rhum and Clay said:

“It's particularly special for us to be part of Brighton Festival as they were one of the first champions of our show and as a co-producer, have offered so much creative, practical and moral support. Sadly for the purposes of a good story, H.G. Wells’ original invasion of alien pods took place in Woking rather than Worthing, but perhaps we can invent some of our own fake news about that? Our story also involves that other seismic master storyteller, Orson Welles, but fundamentally, who doesn't love a good alien invasion story?”

Wells’ book was published in 1897 and is one of the first science fiction novels to explore the relationship between humans and extra-terrestrial life. Orson Welles’ infamous radio play was so realistic that it caused public panic among listeners who thought the Martian invasion was really happening. In Rhum and Clay’s theatrical retelling, it’s not aliens who are the enemy but anyone who has access to the internet.

Rhum and Clay Theatre Company are based in London at the New Diorama Theatre and is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Stage Edinburgh Award for Best Performance 2018. Their productions are cinematic in the telling, playing with overlapping narratives, flashbacks and montages that cumulatively create beautiful, visually textured on-stage worlds. The War of the Worlds has been co-produced by Brighton Festival, HOME Manchester, New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth and Nuffield Southampton Theatres. Rhum and Clay's adaption was written for stage by Isley Lynn.

Established in 1967, Brighton Festival is the largest and most established annual curated multi-arts festival in England and runs from 2 to 24 May 2020. Full programme details will be announced at the Brighton Festival 2020 launch on Tuesday 11 February 2020 and online.