Northern Broadsides & York Theatre Royal to premiere They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!

They Don't Pay We Won't Pay
They Don't Pay We Won't Pay

After their recent acclaimed co-production of J.B. Priestley’s timeless comedy When We Are Married, Northern Broadsides and York Theatre Royal will once again join forces 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, will premiere at York Theatre Royal from 5-13 October and will then tour till the 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 have included 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. Her credits for Northern Broadsides include Hard Times (2018), Cyrano (2017) A Government Inspector (2012) and  Accidental Death Of An Anarchist (2008). Alongside her husband – director Conrad Nelson – she is co-founder and Creative Director of Claybody Theatre Company. As an actress Deborah is best known for her role as Coronation Street regular, Angie Freeman, in the 1990s.

Playwright Deborah McAndrew 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.”

They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! will open at York Theatre Royal, from 5-13 October and will then tour to Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford; Hull Truck Theatre; Liverpool Playhouse; New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme; Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield;  Stephen Joseph Theatre and the Viaduct Theatre, Halifax.

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