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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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Progressive Arts Club, Eight Men Speak

Eight Men Speak, an Agitprop script, communally written by Oscar Ryan, E. Cecil-Smith, Frank Love, and Mildred Goldberg, is performed to an audience of 1,500 by the Toronto Progressive Arts Club at the Standard Theatre. A major part of the campaign to protest the jailing of eight members of the Canadian Communist Party and force the authorities to investigate the attempted murder of their leader, Tim Buck, while in prison. A second performance was forcibly suppressed by the Toronto police, causing riots. The most important play to emerge out of the Workers Theatre movement of the "Dirty Thirties" in Canada, it precedes Odets' Waiting for Lefty by almost two years.