Seventy years ago, the power of radio was demonstrated in the most unexpected way. An adaptation of HG Wells’ 1898 novel, The War Of The Worlds, which features a Martian invasion, had listeners fleeing from their homes in panic. The fictional news bulletins incorporated into the drama by director, co-writer and performer Orson Welles were taken for real by radio listeners who had never heard fiction presented as fact in this way. The broadcast for the CBS Mercury Theatre on the Air show became a broadcasting landmark.
Acclaimed director Joanna Read, former Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Salisbury Playhouse, directed a brand new performance of Orson Welles & Howard Koch’s tour de force play specially for AV Festival 08. Set in the historic Middlesbrough Town Hall in front of a live audience, this production echoed the atmosphere of the original show, and was broadcast live to air. Read’s previous productions include To Kill a Mocking Bird, A Touch Of The Sun and The Wizard Of Oz, making her ideally placed to bring this iconic Orson Welles play to dramatic life in its 70th year.
Joanna Read began her career working on the fringe and at Sheffield, she soon joined the education team at the Young Vic for a year, and following that became the Head of Education and Participation at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 1993 to 1997, where she created a successful and wide-ranging education and outreach strategy and commissioned and directed new writing. She was then Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Salisbury Playhouse from 1999 to 2007.
Commissioned and produced by AV Festival 08. War of the Worlds radio play is written by Howard Koch, adapted from the novel by HG Wells. This performance is undertaken with the permission of Anne Koch. World Premiere.
Wed 5 March 2008, 8pm
Middlesbrough TS1 1LP