Sell-out audiences. Glowing reviews. Sydney Theatre Company’s 2020 production No Pay? No Way!, an adaptation of Dario Fo and Franca Rame’s 1974 Italian farce Sotto Paga! Non Si Paga!, was having a stellar run at the Sydney Opera House, the kind directors and theatre company accountants dream about.

Then the lights went out.

Just two weeks into the season, the production (and every other performing arts event in the country) was closed in response to the emerging COVID epidemic. No Pay? No Way!, it seemed, was done.

Director Sarah Giles, now helming a revival of the show she waved goodbye to four years ago, remembers its early closure as “heartbreaking”.

“It felt like we were having this great moment in time, something we had worked towards for years,” says Giles. “And I felt that all the things I ever learned as a director had come together in that show. So, to not to have it run its course and have proper closure – even a closing night! – was really hard. I can’t begin to tell you how important a closing night is!”

Sarah Giles in rehearsal for Sydney Theatre Company’s...