Award winning theatre-maker Jeremy Goldstein has a question impacting on all of our lives, crossing from the personal to the political and provoking a multitude of responses: ‘Who has power over you and what do you want to say to them?’
This year, Goldstein is embarking on a national tour posing this question across the land, in his internationally acclaimed theatre show Truth to Power Café.
Truth to Power Café combines monologue, poetry, image, music, memoir and live and spontaneous testimony from participants speaking truth to power in response to the show’s central question. Writing in the Guardian Lyn Gardner described this theatrical call to action as “the revolutionary potential of theatre at its simplest and most direct”.
Speaking truth to power has its roots in the anti-war movement as a non-violent means of conflict resolution. In our era of post-truth, alternative fact, and fake-news, speaking truth to power is widely accepted to mean saying something to those in a position of authority or trust who don’t want to hear it. Is it to your parents, a sibling, politician, lover, landlord, neighbour, religious leader, boss, banker, carer, trainer or simply your best friend? It’s time to tell them the truth before it’s too late.
Truth to Power Café is inspired by the political and philosophical beliefs of Nobel prize winning playwright Harold Pinter and his Hackney Gang. Friends for over sixty years, the Gang included Jeremy’s late father Mick Goldstein, and poet polymath Henry Woolf, who at 89 is the last surviving member of the Gang, and whose poetry Goldstein performs in the show as the real-life son of the Hackney Gang.
Goldstein says Truth to Power Cafe “is conceived as a love letter to the memory of my father Mick and his friends of sixty years Henry Woolf and Harold Pinter. It’s a call to self-expression, and an opportunity to name what might be unconscious or tough to acknowledge, whilst challenging ideas of who can take to the stage and have a voice in the process.”
Since its premiere in 2018 over 200 participants of all ages, experiences and backgrounds have taken part in 4 countries including Netherlands, Australia, UK and Croatia; and this year we expect over 150 UK participants to sign up to the project taking place in theatres, community centres, festivals, schools and town halls.
Peter Tatchell, international human rights activist says “Truth to Power Cafe tells it like it is. Take part. I did. Or just turn up for inspiration and empowerment.” Other participants have described the event as “beautiful, honest and brave”, and “extraordinary and cathartic”. At a recent performance at V&A Dundee for National Theatre of Scotland, audiences responded from the heart: “it’s what theatre for me is all about.”
Ranked by Time Out as among the 100 most influential people in UK culture for, Goldstein founded London Artists Projects in 2000, commissioning, producing and creating theatre which the Guardian has described as an “evocative theatrical wonderland”. Goldstein’s shows have won Evening Standard, Herald Angel, BBC Audio Drama and Scotsman Fringe First Awards.
Truth to Power Café is created by Jeremy Goldstein with Henry Woolf; directed by London Artists Projects associate director Jen Heyes; photography by Sarah Hickson. The protest banners are designed by UK’s leading banner maker for the trade union movement Ed Hall, and the music is by David Bowie arranged and sung by Dutch cabaret star Sven Ratzke.
Jeremy Goldstein is a producer, writer, performer and HIV+ activist with ACT UP London. In 2000, he founded London Artists Projects, commissioning and producing shows with many celebrated artists winning awards including Evening Standard, Fringe First, h.Club, London Cabaret and BBC Audio Drama. In 2012 he was named in Time Out as among the 100 most influential people in UK culture for making political theatre accessible to a broad audience.
Henry Woolf is an actor, poet, and theatre director. Described by Sir Richard Eyre as “a living icon of the theatrical avant-garde” he is a life-long friend and collaborator of Nobel Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter, and the last surviving member of his Hackney Gang. He has worked alongside Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles, Ralph Richardson and Peter Brook. From 1991- 2001 he was artistic director of Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan in Canada where he now lives.
Truth to Power Café is a London Artists Projects production developed with Harold Pinter Archive at the British Library; Theatre in the Mill, Bradford; Cast, Doncaster; Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games; and Leeuwarden European Capital of Culture in The Netherlands.
Truth to Power Café is at the Cambridge Junction (J2) on Wednesday 25 September, 7.30pm. Tickets: Pay What You Feel from £2.50 | Recommended for ages 14+.
For more information and tickets, visit: www.junction.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01223 511 511.