INQUEST supports and campaigns alongside families bereaved by deaths in police custody, and has partnered with the production since its inception. The panel will discuss the issues arising from deaths in custody, and the opportunities for people to take action.
It will be chaired by Head of News and Politics at JOE Media, Oli Dugmore with participants including Executive Director of INQUEST, Deborah Coles, Marcia Rigg, a campaigner whose brother Sean Rigg died in police custody in 2008 and Director of Accidental Death of an Anarchist Daniel Raggett.
Tom Basden’s acidically funny adaptation of Dario Fo’s classic takes direct aim at recent police handlings and mishandlings. The final performance marks a year since the production opened at Sheffield Theatres, it has been a hit with audiences and critics alike, with Daniel Rigby’s performance being hailed as a “comic tour de force”. The final scene offers a reminder of the urgency and reality of the story: a tally of all the deaths at the hands of police in this country. Since this production came to the stage a year ago, 29 deaths involving police have been added.
The production opened at Sheffield Theatres, before a run at The Lyric Hammersmith ahead of its West End transfer to Theatre Royal Haymarket in June 2023. It runs in the West End until 9 September.
Executive Director of INQUEST, Deborah Coles commented: “This play is a farce that reflects the very real farcical systems faced by families bereaved by deaths at the hands of police in this country.
The comedy gets deep under the skin of audiences, and we hope brings a new awareness of the reality, as was intended by the first iterations of Accidental Death of an Anarchist in the 1970s.
The team behind this production have worked closely with our charity and bereaved families, to truly understand the reality of INQUEST’s work, and the current relevance of the story they are telling.
The powerful conversations we have had behind the scenes will be brought to the stage in a new way with this panel discussion. It is a reminder to West End audiences of the injustices on our doorstep, and we hope they will leave the theatre inspired to take action.”
Director of Accidental Death of an Anarchist Daniel Raggett, added: “Since 1990, there have been 1867 deaths in police custody or following contact with the police in England and Wales. 12 of those deaths have occurred in the last three months alone, all while we have been performing Accidental Death of an Anarchist at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. That is nearly one life for every week of our run. And yet, there are still people who believe that police violence is not a significant issue in this country. Accidental Death of an Anarchist is a comedy about a serious issue and our hope is that this panel will help raise awareness of state-sponsored violence. I plan to say nothing; instead, I will listen to Deborah Coles and Marcia Rigg talk about the incredible work of INQUEST and the human cost of deaths at the hands of the police.”
An Anarchist has fallen to his death from a police station window. The question is: did he jump or was he thrown?
As the police attempt to avoid yet another scandal, a mysterious imposter is arrested and brought in for questioning. Seizing the chance to put on a show, he leads the officers in an ever more ridiculous reconstruction of their official account, hilariously exposing the cover-ups, corruption, and profound idiocy at the heart of the police.
The cast includes Daniel Rigby, Tony Gardner, Tom Andrews, Mark Hadfield, Ro Kumar, and Ruby Thomas.