Re-Imagined performance celebrates 80th anniversary of historic radio broadcast

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 5:17pm -- brenda_alling

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Eighty years ago, on the evening before Halloween, radio audiences across the country were shocked, thrilled or panicked by a radio drama depicting an invasion by beings from the planet Mars.

That radio drama was "The War of the Worlds," directed by and starring Orson Welles and members of the Mercury Theatre on the Air. First heard on Oct. 30, 1938, "The War of the Worlds" remains the most famous radio broadcast in history.

To celebrate its 80th anniversary, the Re-Imagined Radio project will offer a live reenactment of "The War of the Worlds" on Oct. 30 at the historic Kiggins Theatre, 1011 Main St., Vancouver. It is produced and directed by John Barber, professor of Creative Media and Digital Culture at WSU Vancouver and head of the Re-Imagined Radio project.

"We plan a great celebration of alien invasion," Barber said. “Our audience will recognize familiar landmarks, buildings and place names."

The re-enactment is based on the original radio drama, except that it is set in Southwest Washington rather than the original New Jersey. The original drama was adapted from H.G. Wells's 1898 novel of the same name.

While the original broadcast was heard across the country, the only way to experience this re-imagined performance is to join the live audience. The doors will open at 6 p.m., and the performance begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $12 at the door, $8 online through the Kiggins website. Costumes are encouraged in honor of Halloween. Concessions, beer and wine will be available for purchase.

A special pre-show alien-themed food and wine service will be available at Niche Wine Bar, 1013 Main St., Vancouver.

Re-Imagined Radio is a partnership between Barber, Kiggins Theatre and Metropolitan Performing Arts, a local school and resource for aspiring actors, dancers and singers. Each production features a live re-creation of a radio drama with voice actors and sound artists.

About the Kiggins Theatre

The theater has been a landmark in downtown Vancouver since 1936. It is owned and operated by WSU alumnus Dan Wyatt Jr. Learn more at

About Metropolitan Performing Arts

Metropolitan Performing Arts is a nonprofit organization providing performing theater arts education and community theater for Southwest Washington. Learn more

About WSU Vancouver

As one of six campuses of the Washington State University system, WSU Vancouver offers big-school resources in a small-school environment. The university provides affordable, high-quality baccalaureate- and graduate-level education to benefit the people and communities it serves. As the only four-year research university in Southwest Washington, WSU Vancouver helps drive economic growth through relationships with local businesses and industries, schools and nonprofit organizations. 

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Brenda Alling, Office of Marketing and Communications, 360-546-9601,

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