As a sort of protest, I am not going to the opening of No Pay? No Way! at the Sydney Theatre Company. Originally by Italian, Dario Fo, it has been adapted by Marieke Hardy. Proudly describing herself as the granddaughter of a communist, it is unsurprising that she is attracted to the writings of Dario Fo (1926-2016) who claimed never to have joined the Communist party; not sufficiently revolutionary for him. Hardy sees parallels between 1970s Italy and present day Australia, so she is certainly not without imagination. This type of political obsession, along with gender politics are now standard fare for theatre companies in Australia. Not unlike the ABC, they accept government funding and box office from largely middle class audiences, while relentlessly pushing their political agendas and those of the entertainment industry unions. Even the employers’ group, Live Performance Australia, openly campaigned against the Coalition government in the 2019 election.
Much of this came to mind during the recent ‘sports rort’ fuss. In the performing arts there has always been great emphasis on ‘arms length funding’ and the dreaded ‘peer reviews’, with decisions being made by unelected bureaucrats, never the government. The question should be: arms length from whom; from the democratically elected government? Well, yes, so the arts companies persist with their political agendas, blissfully ignoring mainstream opinion. The play’s title is full of irony.
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