‘It was supposed to be a hobby, where in maybe like, two years we’d have 10 people who aren’t our friends listen to it.’ Joseph Fink is talking about Welcome to Night Vale, a bi-monthly podcast he started in the US with his friend Jeffrey Cranor.
Narrated by actor Cecil Baldwin, who lends his smooth tones to the news reports of this ‘friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful and mysterious lights pass over head while we all pretend to sleep.’ The town’s mottos include ‘We are unholy, awful people’ and the news reports warn that there are ‘helicopters that hover in packs, painted with complex murals over the children’s playgrounds’, while you are advised to ‘return to your homes and lock your doors, until the sheriff’s secret policeman leaves a carnation on your porch to indicate that the danger has passed.’
With three-headed wild dogs, hovering cats and failure to return your library books within 30 days resulting in jaw mutilation, Welcome to Night Vale is a place where the totally odd and eerily creepy meet the utterly weird and almost dull monotone of these bi-monthly news reports – it’s been described as ‘local news with a twist of Twin Peaks.’
The creators agreed early on that they would write whatever they wanted as long as it had strict continuity. In doing so, Finks and Cranor created a fictional town, which has become a must-listen for a cult fan-base across the world.
Originally meeting as members of an experimental theatre group in New York, their fortnightly podcasts, which launched in 2012, have rocketed to the top of the US podcast charts, overtaking the popular, This American Life – which average around 800,000 downloads per episode. It’s occupied the No.1 spot in nine countries, despite being recorded at Fink’s home and tickets for their previous live shows sold out in less than 30 seconds.
Welcome to Night Vale is set to come to the UK this October with a never-before-released episode written specifically for the stage called The Librarian, starring Cecil Baldwin and featuring British singer-songwriter Mary Epworth.
Tickets for the UK show are on sale from 10am this Friday here. Don’t miss out!
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