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R. G. Davis papers relating to Dario Fo

Call Number: GEN MSS 1520

Content Description

The R. G. Davis papers relating to Dario Fo contain correspondence, writings, printed material, contracts, programs, photographs, audiovisual materials, and other papers that document Davis’s productions of plays by Fo, including The Accidental Death of an Anarchist, We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!, and Female Parts, in 1979 and through the early 1980s.


  • 1950-2017 (bulk 1979-1986)


Language of Materials

Materials in English, Italian, and French.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 8 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 9 (record album storage): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The R. G. Davis Papers Relating to Dario Fo is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Andover Street Archives on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2017.


Materials in this collection roughly maintain the order found at time of acquisition.


9.92 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

R. G. Davis

R. G. Davis studied dance, acting, and mime in New York City from 1956 to 1958, and in 1959 received a Fulbright scholarship to study with Étienne Decroux at l’Ecole du Mime in Paris. He served as an Assistant Director of the Actors Workshop in San Francisco from 1959 to 1962, and founded the San Francisco Mime Troupe, 1964 -1970, directing and performing in numerous Commedia dell’Arte adaptations of Moliere, Goldoni, Machiavelli, Beolco (Ruzzante), and Bruno in Bay Area parks and across the United States. He also founded Epic West, a center for the study of Bertolt Brecht, in Berkeley, California, 1975-1979.

In 1979 Davis obtained the rights to Dario Fo’s plays The Accidental Death of an Anarchist and We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! and presented the North American premier of The Accidental Death of an Anarchist in Toronto, Canada. Multiple productions of We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! included a performance of the first act by students at New York University (1980) and productions off-Broadway in New York (1980), at the Tamahnous Theatre in Vancouver (1980), and with a black cast at the Los Angeles Actors Theatre (1981); Davis’s North American version of the play was published by Samuel French in 1984. Davis also staged a production of Female Parts, a play by Fo and his wife Franca Rame, featuring Jane Dornacker in San Francisco in 1983. In 1985 Fo’s legal representative sent Davis a letter abrogating the rights contract.

Dario Fo

Dario Fo (1926-2016) was an Italian dramatist, theater producer and director, actor, singer, composer, artist, and political activist. He received the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing. Biographical information for R. G. Davis was received from R. G. Davis.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the R. G. Davis Papers Relating to Dario Fo
by Beinecke staff
January 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.