RYT is working on an exciting, fresh version of War of the Worlds written by our very own award-winning playwright, Fleur Kilpatrick. This play will see three regional towns collaborate in a simultaneous performance during an alien invasion! 

Each organisation will be developing their own version of this play, making tweaks to the original Riverland-based script to match the details of their own towns and actors. And they’ll be performing it at the same time from the Riverland, Whyalla and Bendigo. There’s even scenes in the play where the actors will interact with each other via Facetime and group message. 


Thanks to funders (so far) Arts SA, Regional Arts Australia, Local Giants, Country Arts SA, Fairfax Youth Initiative and collaborators Arena Theatre and D’faces of Youth Arts for helping us make this project come to life! 



The premise of this new adaptation of War of the Worlds is that, on the night of an alien invasion, three regional theatre companies are presenting parallel versions of scenes from classics. As chaos begins to descend on Australia, these companies of young people find the only communication they have with the outside world is with each other. This script is a tribute to the resilience and friendship of the teens in these regional communities, the ways in which they look after their friends and have survived COVID and everything else the 21st Century is hurling at them


Here’s Artistic Director and all-round cool person, Fleur, to give you a better understanding of this gigantic project we’re undertaking and how it came about. 


NB: this video was recorded in 2022 during early developments and already some details have shifted! That’s the nature of creative development. The core ideas of aliens, multiple locations, the Field Days sites and live phonecalls remain in the current version of the script.

War of the Worlds has undergone development in 2022 and 2023, supported by Arts South Australia, PAC Australia (through Local Giants) and as part of the Fairfax Youth Initiative.


Development so far has included creative exploration with the directors from Arena, RYT and D’faces, workshops with teenagers in Whyalla & the Riverland, writing time for Fleur to complete the first full draft of the script, attendance at APAX (an annual national performing arts market) to pitch War of the Worlds, a work-in-progress showing, and a rehearsed reading. 



RYT packed up and travelled to Cairns for APAX (Australian Performing Arts Exchange)! 

APAX 2023 was hosted in Cairns from 28 August to 1 September 2023, with an online Advance Pitching Program on Thursday 17 August 2023. APAX is a conference/marketplace for professional theatre performances to pitch their projects to potential collaborators and audiences. 

Fleur, Alysha, two of our teens Axel and Rowen, and friends of RYT Sam Wannan, and Michal Hughes (D’faces) travelled to (not so) faraway lands to pitch War of the Worlds!

Mik, Axel, Rowen, Fleur and Sam at APAX (photo by Alysha)
Fleur, Rowen and Axel on stage, going over their scripts. Rowen is giving a thumbs up to Fleur.
Rowen, Alysha and Axel smiling under an electric-blue light

At APAX, over 400 producers, artists and presenters came together for a week of deep exploration and engagement, reflecting upon what’s next in performing arts presenting and touring. It was a week filled with dialogue and an exchange of ideas through provocation circles, breakouts, roundtables, panels and networking. 


Our young artists performed a small snippet of War of the Worlds and met so many incredible artists and queer people that their brains melted. Here’s some words from them: 

APAX was an amazing experience!


Being one of the youngest delegates there made it an opportunity to find out what it’s like working in theatre. I met a lot of very awesome people, saw some amazing pitches and got to be a part of our pitch!


It was like nothing I’ve ever done before and I’m so happy I got to be there. Growing up in the Riverland means that I never get to see this side of things, and now I’m very excited for what my future holds in the theatre world!


– Axel Lochert

Rowen promised us they’d tell us what they thought and we’ll update this when they reply! 

– Rowen Hurrell

Beautiful illustration of Rowen and Axel sitting on stage at APAX before their pitch, drawn by RYT’s friend Sam Wannan. Sam is also on the board of our peer regional youth arts company D’faces (and used to be the Creative Producer of D’faces – basically the Fleur equivalent there in Whyalla). 


Ten of RYT’s teen participants, Fleur and Alysha made their way to Swan Hill for two weeks for the Fairfax Youth Initiative Festival – a development camp to work on War of the Worlds. Together with our collaborators from Arena and D’faces, we had a combined group of seventeen young people from Berri, Barmera, Waikerie, Renmark, Winkie, Whyalla, Bendigo, Mildura, Marybourough and Swan Hill. 


Across the two weeks, our young cast and professional artists presented a work in progress showing of existing scenes, tested new material and presented a full reading of the current script on the second to last night. The team also participated in some workshops and masterclasses as part of the wider Fairfax Youth Initiative. 


The full reading and two-week development during the Fairfax Youth Initiative Festival in Swan Hill was an opportunity for young people from our collaborating communities to come together on stage and share a small taste of what the final project will become. We are grateful to the Fairfax Youth Initiative and all of the funders and other supporters for the opportunity to test the script and present a full reading. We had some incredible feedback, including these beautiful words from Mik Frawley:
I’m in utter awe of Fleur’s script for her authenticity of voice (invasive viral Texan accents notwithstanding) and inspired by the raw, vulnerable talent of the assembled ensemble of young performers who have lent it to the work.
We can’t wait to see where the next stage of development takes us. Stay tuned in 2024!

Support War of the Worlds

We are in the process of applying for grants, fundraising, and seeking sponsorship to realise the full ambition and premiere War of the Worlds in Barmera, Whyalla and Bendigo.

If you’d like to support this project, or any of our other work please get in touch.