2018/19 DON’T YOU DARE!

A high-energy satire exposing the witch hunts of our present time.

Combining the irrepressible energy of Commedia dell’Arte with biting political satire this tragicomic one-woman show invites us to reflect on the madness of our world.

It’s 1601: a famous actress accused of mesmerising her audiences, stands trial for witchcraft. As the trial unfolds, an entire nation turns against her, hypnotised by fear and propaganda. Drawing parallels between the violence, oppression and indoctrination of the Inquisition, and the hate speech of contemporary politics, Don’t You Dare! weaves a narrative across centuries of attacks on women, the arts, and freedom of expression.

Written, Directed & Performed by Chiara D’Anna

Light Designer: Jelmer Tuinstra

Photos by: Saida Volpe & Danny Di Diomede at the Abarico Teatro, Festival Teatrale Europeo 2019





Don’t You Dare! was conceived and developed in Spring-Summer 2017.  The clash between the values of the Catholic Church at the time of the Inquisition and Commedia dell’Arte was the initial stimulus to write this piece. The range of sources of inspiration included historical documents, the novel La Chimera based on a real trial of a witch in Piedmont, Italy, Commedia dell’Arte traditional canovacci, the Malleus Maleficarum, Ruzante’s plays, excerpts from contemporary media and even some autobiographical material.

Two historical figures of the time, Cardinal Carlo Borromeo and the famous commediante Vittoria Piisini, were the initial inspiration for the creation of the main characters of our story: Vittoria, the Actress and the Inquisitor.

The piece has an episodic structure with a narrative voice, the Storyteller-Researcher, that guides the audience in their journey back and forth from the past to the present.  Like the traditional scenarios of Commedia dell’Arte, the piece has a Prologue and Epilogue. This version of Don’t You Dare! was presented at the Crisis Art Festival, dell’Arte School, Arezzo with the title Home (SEE ALSO: R&D ).


After a few month our Director, Chiara D’Anna, went back to the piece and directed it for its London debut at London Metropolitan University in April 2018, with the provisional title Finding HomeIn this phase the academic/historical content of the piece was significantly reduced in favour or  a clearer definition of its main narrative: the clash between The Inquisitor and The Actress – and the values that they represented.


In Autumn 2018, the piece was presented at the Voila’ Europe Festival, Cockpit Theatre (Nov 2018) under the direction of Baris Celiloglu who contributed to the development of the project and to the definition of a new title. Since then the piece is known as Don’t You Dare!

The piece went back to Chiara D’Anna’s direction and her original vision and since February 2019 has been touring in Italy and the UK.


Photo by Saida Volpe Foto