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Pre-Halloween ‘War of the Worlds’ reading in Surrey for new Pivot Theatre company

Pivot Theatre artistic director says the script still thrills, 84 years after infamous radio broadcast
Pivot Theatre members involved in the Oct. 29 staged reading of “The War of the Worlds” include Kayt Roth, Simon Challenger, Monica Iyer, Adrian Shaffer (in the back row), Annette DeCaire, Rita Price (director), Cindy Atkinson (middle row), Beck Marie Terpstra and Margaret Shearman (front row). (Submitted photo)

A staged reading of an infamous radio play will happen in Surrey a couple nights before Halloween.

Pivot Theatre company brings “The War of the Worlds” to Bethany-Newton United Church on Friday night (Oct. 29) starting at 7:30 p.m. at 14853 60 Ave.

For one night only, it’s a chance to hear actor read the script that made Orson Welles infamous back in 1939.

Written by Howard E. Koch, and based on the novel by H.G. Wells, “The War of the Worlds” is renowned for the panic it caused amongst radio listeners who mistook it for actual news bulletins rather than a work of fiction.

The misunderstanding led to police trying to intervene, and scripts being hidden to avoid being destroyed. One study after the event even concluded, “around six million people heard ‘The War of the Worlds’ broadcast… (it’s) estimated that 1.7 million listeners believed the broadcast was an actual news bulletin and, of those, 1.2 million people were frightened or disturbed,” according to a Wikipedia entry.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students/seniors (plus GST), with a link on the theatre company’s website (

Margaret Shearman, artistic director of Pivot Theatre, says “The War of the Worlds” is as thrilling as ever, 84 years after that infamous radio broadcast.

“This cast is really amazing, they have all been members for the past year, supporting Pivot from the very beginning,” Shearman noted. “I invited them personally because I wanted to give them a chance to play and have fun, and they are.”

Others involved in the production include Kayt Roth, Simon Challenger, Monica Iyer, Adrian Shaffer Annette DeCaire, Rita Price (director), Cindy Atkinson and Beck Marie Terpstra.

Over the summer, Pivot Theatre signed a lease with Bethany-Newton United Church to stage plays there, in a 250-seat auditorium.

For a seven-show run starting Nov. 17, the company will stage “A Late Snow,” by Jane Chambers.

Pivot launched last March with plans to create “a safer place to create” in Newton, to make up for what founder Shearman calls a lack of places in the city where people “can express themselves and learn new things and just bond with people and be yourself.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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