Award-winning movie I, Daniel Blake is set to be adapted for the stage in a new production written by the film’s star, Dave Johns.
The 2016 movie was directed by Ken Loach with a screenplay by Paul Laverty, and won the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or award.
Actor and writer Dave Johns, who played the title role of Daniel Blake in the movie, has adapted the screenplay, which will premiere in May 2023 at Northern Stage in Newcastle, where the movie is set.
Directed by Mark Calvert, a UK tour is then planned for I, Daniel Blake.
The story is a stark account of Tory austerity and the benefits system, centred on a joiner (Daniel Blake) who is a widower. Following a heart-attack he finds himself ineligible for employment and support allowance, and also befriends a young single mother called Kate.
Johns has said that he was thrilled to adapt the screenplay, but that “I didn’t just want to put the film on stage – I wanted to update the story for 2022,” and that in researching the stage play, “it was disheartening to find not much had changed at all since the film’s release. The story is still as relevant as it was in 2016; maybe even more so now with the cost-of-living crisis making it even harder for those who are already struggling to find a way out of poverty. Daniel and Kate’s story could be anyone’s.”
Ken Loach said in a press statement: “This story is more relevant now than ever. And who better to put it on stage than Dave Johns, the original Daniel Blake?””
The play is produced in association with Cardboard Citizens, who make theatre with and for homeless people.