GARDINER – Open Book Players will present “Worlds Afire,” a play written by Maine author and poet Paul B. Janeczko, as a fundraising event for Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center. The readers’ theater play will be staged at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at the arts center, 280 Water St.

The production mingles heartbreak, courage, suspicion and goodness. It is based on the tragic but true event of the July 6, 1944, Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey circus fire in Hartford, Conn. During the afternoon performance on that fateful day, fire broke out in one corner of the big top and spread quickly, leaving 168 people dead, mostly women and children, and more than 500 injured in a matter of minutes.

The play is touring prior to being presented at the New England One-Act Play Competition.

“Worlds Afire” was adapted and scripted for performance by Dr. Walter R. Stump, professor emeritus from the theater department at the University of Southern Maine, and is directed by Lucy Rioux, artistic director of Open Book Players.

Tickets are $10, $8 for students and senior citizens (65+). For reservations, call 582-7144.

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