Customer asks for refund from York Theatre Royal because Halifax group performed play in Yorkshire accents

The chief executive of York Theatre Royal has expressed amazement after a customer asked for a refund - because the actors in a Shakespeare production had Yorkshire accents.

By Ian Hirst
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 9:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 12:32 pm

Tom Bird tweeted: We've got a complaint this morning from someone who left after an hour of As You Like It last week, because it had "Yorkshire accents" in it. That's Yorkshire accents, right here in Yorkshire. They want a refund."

The production of the Shakespeare comedy is by Northern Broadsides, a Halifax-based company whose stated aim is to 'sell northern voices' by staging classic and new plays performed in regional dialects.

As You Like It is touring the UK this year and is Northern Broadsides' 30th anniversary show.

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York Theatre Royal

Ironically, the cast list includes more actors from the Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire areas than Yorkshire, though Gemma Dobson is from Leeds and Jo Patmore from the East Riding.

The company's work is described as 'bold, accessible and unpretentious'.

This summer As You Like It will visit Leeds Playhouse, Harrogate Theatre and Cast in Doncaster.

Replies to Mr Bird's tweet suggested audience dissatisfaction with local accents was not a new phenomenon.

Oxford Playhouse director Louise Chantal said: "I once got a letter (hand-delivered - clearly very local) complaining about the Scottish accents in a show by the National Theatre of Scotland. Memorably she suggested ‘if you must put a play on in a foreign language at least provide subtitles.’ The play was in English."

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