A War of the Worlds
by Penfold Theatre Company

Jun. 02 - Jun. 18, 2022

Dan Parker (via Penfold Theatre

 Alternatingly comic and gripping, A War of the Worlds re-imagines Orson Welles and his radio troupe The Mercury Theatre as a group of African American artists on the brink of failure. In the hope of securing corporate sponsorship, Welles orchestrates a last ditch ratings stunt that causes national panic and secures them an undeniable - if infamous - place in media history. Playwright and native Austinite Jarrett King takes us behind the scenes for the tense hours before the broadcast; for the airing itself, performed live in radiocast format; and for the reckoning with public terror that followed. 
King combines careful historical research and savvy creative license to connect Welles’ Depression-Era world with our own – touching on a wide range of topics, including race relations, fake news, the ethics of new media technologies, and “invasion,” to name a few – while simultaneously enthralling us with the sci-fi thriller that became an instant cultural icon.


A War of the Worlds marks the inaugural work in Penfold’s new play commissioning series which challenges five local playwrights to engage a different “classic” story and create an original work that models Penfold’s values of empathy and hope. Penfold will produce their world premieres, one per year, over the next five seasons.


Marc Pouhé (via Penfold Theatre)


The cast includes Marc Pouhé as Welles, Jeffrey Da’Shade Johnson as Canada, Kenah Benefield as Wardell, Yunina Barbour Payne as Edna, Dane Parker as Ollie, Judd Farris as John, Zac Carr as Wrigley, Sarah Byington as Lois, and Nathan Jerkins as himself.


Written by Jarrett King and directed by Marcus McQuirter, the production team also includes Costume Design by Desiree Humphries, Sound Design by Buzz Moran, Set Design and Technical Direction by Tomas Salas, and Properties Design by Joe Kelley, with Maddy Lamb as Stage Manager and Carl Gonzales as Production Manager.


Kenah Benefield, Yunina Barbour Payne (via Penfold Theatre)




A War of the Worlds
by Jarrett King
Penfold Theatre Company

June 02 - June 18, 2022
Ground Floor Theatre
979 Springdale Rd
Austin, TX, 78702

June 2 - 18, 2022

Price: $16-$31
Run time: 2 hours
For ages: High school+

Need help? Email us or dial (512) 850-4849.

Special event on Saturday, June 4: First Saturday Soiree. Stay after the show to celebrate opening weekend with the cast and creative team! Food and drinks provided. Be sure to reserve your place when you purchase your ticket.


Single tickets for A War of the Worlds are on sale now and start at $16. Discounts available for student and senior tickets.

Tickets online at penfoldtheatre.org/event/a-war-of-the-worlds/2022-06-18/.


The needs of the community are changing, and Penfold will remain flexible and responsive. Penfold's COVID procedures are closely linked to city guidelines and scientifically backed practices. Safety protocols for this production will be kept up to date and made available at www.penfoldtheatre.org. For answers to specific questions, reach out to info@penfoldtheatre.org