Theatre News

Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds musical arena tour initial casting announced

Kevin Clifton and Claire Richards join the piece

Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds
Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds
© Simon Lowery

Casting has been announced for Jeff Wayne's musical version of H G Wells' The War of the Worlds, which will embark on a UK tour next year.

Wayne will conduct the piece, which features the Black Smoke Band as well as the 36-piece ULLAdubULLA strings ensemble. The experience will also feature a giant 30-foot tall martian robot, armed with dual fire cannons, alongside a giant 100-foot wide CGI wall. Liam Neeson will also play The Journalist as a 3D holograph.

Touted as "The Life Begins Again Tour", the piece will star Claire Richards making her debut as Beth, The Parson's Wife, alongside Kevin Clifton as The Artilleryman. Callum O'Neil will also appear as Wells himself.

The show toured the UK in 2014 before playing the Dominion Theatre in February 2016. It toured again in 2018.

Jeff said: "Why are we calling this The Life Begins Again Tour? It's certainly a name appropriate for the times we have been living through since the first lockdown in 2020, caused by the pandemic. But ironically, the title comes from a musical phrase in my original 1978 double-album just as Humanity learns that the Martians, with all their superior intelligence, incredible machines and weaponry, hadn't foreseen one particular thing – the common cold, and the bacteria that caused it.

"And in a sneeze, they were gone! Now from all over Britain, mankind began returning to their homes. Life was beginning again. By 2014 I decided that original musical phrase should be expanded into a full song, performed by all the characters we have met along the way, and it has appeared in every tour and production since."

The tour will open in Nottingham on 23 March 2022, before visiting Birmingham, Cardiff, Brighton, Bournemouth, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Hull, Liverpool, Newcastle and London.

An immersive production will also open later this summer in London.

Buy tickets for the tour here