Truth to Power Cafe is a show written and developed by Jeremy Goldstein. It is many things, profound, funny, most notably a close depiction of the spirit of the East End in all its warts and glory.
This begins with the tale of the Hackney Gang, a celebration of Harold Pinter, of Henry Woolf, of Mick Goldstein (and Moishe Wernick, Jimmy Law, Ron Percival), and a London just postwar, still recognisably poor East End with no future.
This is poetry, pictures, recitative, rhyme, freedom and art. Henry Woolf (who died in 2021) speaks on screen, chatty and immediate, beyond the grave. A letter gives a sense of the mythical dwarfs of Pinter’s novel – true and false. These friends were fearless. They wrote, they spoke, they created.
Jeremy Goldstein, son of Mick, performs on stage in Rotherham, with pride, attitude, and more. He has created a celebration of a lost world from Woolf’s verse, Pinter’s letters, and a memory lost. He is as fearless as those before him, his body full of spirit and movement.
Jeremy, an AIDS activist, speaks his truth, his life dance – losing many, dealing with his own diagnosis and his feelings about being here to tell the tale.
Then others stand to speak, to their own truths. This is their chance to be counted, to stand in the spotlight and gain their own power. It is community writ large; it is fresh, confident, and unnerving.
The eight local young people (Evie Burgess, Darlene Galabe, Joseph Glossop, Ellie Hague, Brian Markham, Maltiti Masah-Rasak, Jacob Rhodes, Martin Rigg, Ameesha Wood, and Curtis Yip) speak to answer the question ‘Who has power over you, and what do you want to say to them?”
In speaking Truth to Power anyone can say something to those in power or authority, whether or not they want to hear it. It is effective resistance without weapon or attack.
Jen Heyes directs this piece, which was commissioned by The Space and was staged and live-streamed as part of Rotherham’s Children’s Capital of Culture Launch.