They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!

York Theatre Royal and Northern Broadsides present:
They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!
By Dario Fo
A new adaptation by Deborah McAndrew
Based on a translation by Jon Laskin and Michael Aquilante

Directed by Conrad Nelson
Designed by Jessica Worrall
Lighting by Douglas Kuhrt

York Theatre Royal, 5 – 13 October 2018

Following their recent acclaimed co-production of J.B. Priestley’s timeless comedy When We Are Married, Northern Broadsides and York Theatre Royal join forces again to stage They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!, Deborah McAndrew’s new adaptation transposed to Brexit Britain of Dario Fo’s political satire of civil disobedience Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!

Directed by Northern Broadsides new Artistic Director and Joint CEO Conrad Nelson, the new adaptation based on Jon Laskin and Michael Aquilante’s translation, premieres at York Theatre Royal from 5 – 13 October and then tours until 2 December.

They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! tells the story of Anthea who gets mixed up in a riot at her local supermarket and seizes the opportunity to stock her empty cupboards and those of her friend. But what will the two friends tell their law-abiding husbands?

Deborah McAndrew’s plays include the moving First World War drama An August Bank Holiday Lark for Northern Broadsides and New Vic Theatre which won both UK Theatre Award and Manchester Theatre Award for Best New Play 2014.

She said: “Dario Fo tackled everything through comedy – no matter how unfunny that might appear to be. In his Italy of the 1970s there are clear parallels with the kind of food poverty we see in 21st Century Britain – with the growth of food banks and holiday hunger projects etc… It’s interesting to note that Fo reworked this play himself in 2010. He updated the references and changed the title from the original Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! but it’s pretty much the same play. In fact, the amendments he made to the ending seem to express a feeling of sorrow that in almost 40 years little has changed.”

Like Accidental Death of an Anarchist, which I adapted for Northern Broadsides in 2008, They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! is a great fit for a company with a bold, narrative style and a direct connection to its audience in performance. They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! is fast and funny, but also sharp and relevant – providing countless opportunities to satirise the state of our own politics and the plight of the poorest people in society at a time of sustained austerity policy, Brexit, and ideological infighting on both sides of the Commons.”

Director Conrad Nelson said:
“We’re delighted to be working with the terrific team at York Theatre Royal on our third co-production. Both companies share similar values and energies in the pursuit of theatre with the highest values of quality and integrity.”

“Ten years ago, I rebooted Fo’s play, Accidental Death of an Anarchist. The new version coincided with the inquest on the death of Jean Charles de Menezes on the London underground. Fo’s drama is all about timing and context and our new adaptation of Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! gives us the opportunity to bring a fresh and vibrant voice to the work while remaining faithful to the play and the original intentions of the author.”

“Last year, I shared a performance space with a food bank and a furniture mine. It was a site-specific piece performed on the site of the former Spode ceramic factory in Stoke on Trent.  This year the European exit continues but the good news is that business is booming at the food bank and the furniture mine.”

In Deborah McAndrew’s witty new adaptation Fo’s sharp satire and theatrical anarchy is firmly re-located and re-voiced in the Northern Powerhouse of contemporary Brexit Britain. It’s all about the timing. We’re in a mess. You’ve just gotta laugh… haven’t you?

They Don’t Pay? We Wont’t Pay! is designed by Jessica Worrall (When We Are Married, Northern Broadsides and York Theatre Royal) with lighting by Douglas Kuhrt (Pitmen Painters, Live Theatre, West End and Broadway).

Northern Broadsides and York Theatre Royal previously worked together in York on Blake Morrison’s adaptation of Goldoni’s Italian farce The Man with Two Gaffers in 2006 and in 2016 on a revival of J B Priestley’s much-loved classic comedy When We Are Married.