Everything You Need to Know About The War of the Worlds by Rhum and Clay

Inspired by H.G. Wells’ sci-fi novel and Orson Welles’ classic radio play

The classic science fiction story, The War of the Worlds is playfully reimagined by Rhum and Clay Theatre Company and comes to Worthing this May as part of Brighton Festival 2021.

Here are a few interesting facts about the show and the company.

Rhum and Clay Theatre Company is an award-winning theatre company led by co-Artistic Directors Julian Spooner and Matt Wells and Executive Producer, Sally Cowling and is based in London at the New Diorama Theatre.

In 2018, co-Artistic Director and The War of the Worlds cast member, Julian Spooner, followed in the footsteps of the likes of Daniel Kitson, Monica Dolan and Phoebe Waller-Bridge by winning a coveted Stage Award for Acting Excellence for his performance in Mistero Buffo.

The War of the Worlds by Rhum and Clay is a remarkable new play inspired by Orson Welles’ radio broadcast and by H.G. Wells’ original novel which was published in 1897. The latter was one of the first examples of the ‘science fiction’ genre, about a conflict between mankind and extra-terrestrial life.

In 1938, Orson Welles’ created a thrilling radio adaptation. When aired as part of a CBS drama series, the Mercury Theatre on the Air, it caused public panic amongst listeners, many of whom thought it was real because they were listening to a radio ventriloquist on another channel and missed the opening credits.

In Welles’ broadcast, the aliens land in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey. For research, Julian Spooner visited the town, which has a café dedicated to the broadcast and a monument claiming that in 1938 up to 1 million people believe the Martian invasion was real.


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Fast forward, and the internet has replaced the radio as the medium through which we get our news. Rhum and Clay interweave Welles’ inflammatory broadcast with that of a modern-day podcaster wrestling with her own demons. The cast of four takes 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.

Rhum and Clay have performed their previous shows all over the world, from Brazil to Venezuela, from Canada to Kazakhstan. The War of the Worlds is also heading to America later in the year and to Australia next year.

Find out more about Rhum and Clay. 

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