Reading the Banned “Eight Men Speak”

Reading the Banned “Eight Men Speak”

by Oscar Ryan, E. Cecil-Smith, H. Francis and Mildred Goldberg

May Day, 2024

In honour of May 1 – International Workers’ Day – TTOK hosted a reading of this rare surviving piece from the Toronto’s Workers’ Experimental Theatre Group. Created in 1933 in an effort to secure the release from prison of Communist party leader Tim Buck and seven comrades, this play was banned immediately after its first performance. “Eight Men Speak” is a sprawling piece of committee-created agit-prop, with over 40 characters ranging from historical figures like Tim Buck and Justice Minister Dufrie to the embodiment of Capitalism and in styles from choral speaking to living newspaper to naturalism.

Directed by Lee Bolton with multiple roles played by 12 of Peterborough’s favourite performers:
Di Latchford, Dan Smith, Kate Story, Dreda Blow, Ryan Kerr, Simon Banderob, Lela Fox-Doran,
Brad Brackenridge, Hermione Rivison, Chance McGuigan, and Matt Gilbert.