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USM Gorham campus opens new studio, presents War of the Worlds

GORHAM, ME — The War of the Worlds: The 1938 Radio Script by Howard E. Koch will be the first radio theatre produced in University of Southern Maine Department of Theatre’s new audio studio. Live performances, a listening party, and a WMPG broadcast are all part of the fun.

Beginning this semester, the USM Department of Theatre will regularly record radio theatre in its new audio studio as part of its educational offerings. The creation of the audio studio is thanks to the generous donation of equipment by Marie Reuillard, wife of the late William Dufris, local narrator and audiobook producer, and his business partner Fred Greenhalgh, a Maine-based audio pioneer. 

For the inaugural production in the studio, USM Theatre chose The War of the Worlds: The 1938 Radio Script for its iconic status in the world of radio theatre. Based on the book by Orson Welles and adapted by Howard E. Koch, the original broadcast from New York’s Mercury Theatre in 1938 had some terrified listeners convinced that an actual alien invasion of Earth was taking place. USM’s production is directed by Liz Carlson and with music production by Robin Miller and Jacob Lane, students at the Osher School of Music. 

For Director Liz Carlson, working in a new audio studio with students who are new to voice acting has been an unbeatable educational experience, “Being in the new recording studio has been such a glorious adventure. I have been so impressed with the students’ abilities to create characters and worlds with nothing but their voices. It’s been affirming to have the students’ work met with professional equipment and meticulous editing and sound design by our producer Brooks Desrosiers and sound designer, Andrew Johns. It’s a great introduction to the students of the myriad opportunities in voiceovers and voice acting, giving them experience in the process and confidence in their abilities.”

And she believes audiences will love this script, “The play itself is an iconic piece of Americana, it’s structured in such a way that keeps an audience on their toes. As we’ve worked on this piece we’ve tried to both honor the history of it as well as bring our own energy and identity to the work: so it feels simultaneously of its time and as though it could really be happening now.”

The War of the Worlds will be presented live March 7 & 8th at 7pm as a staged reading with full sound effects at Russell Hall on the USM Gorham campus. On March 22nd, audiences can enjoy a free listening party of the finished production on the 2nd floor of the McGoldrick Center on the USM Portland campus at 7pm or tune into WMPG for the broadcast. Food, drink, trivia, and more will be part of the fun.

  Tickets & Reservations To purchase tickets or for more information, visit USM Theatre online at, or call the USM Theatre Box Office at (207) 780-5151.

The War of the Worlds Live Event on March 7 & 8  at Russell Hall, USM Gorham campus Tickets:

$18 for Adults

$14 for USM Faculty/Staff/Alumni

$12 for Seniors 65+

$8 for Students/Youth

The War of the Worlds Listening Party at McGoldrick Center, USM Portland Campus, is free. Please RSVP online.

Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Janice Gardner at (207)780-5289 or Hearing impaired: call USM’s telex / TDD number (207)780-5646

Lucious Finston-Fox, Ellie Backman, Noam Albion (student performers). Photo by Noli French @Frenchsfotos 

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