Socialist Worker

The Joe Hill Dream—dream you saw him and then get organising

by Alex May
Issue No. 2481

The cast of The Joe Hill Dream

The cast of The Joe Hill Dream

To mark the centenary of Joe Hill’s death, writer John Fay’s new play The Joe Hill Dream is being staged across six theatres in the North West.

Joe, an organiser for the radical IWW union, was executed by a firing squad in Salt Lake City, Utah, on a trumped up murder charge. He wrote numerous songs which inspired his IWW comrades and many since.

The play’s title comes from the song I Dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, which has been performed by the likes of Paul Robeson, Joan Baez and Bruce Springsteen.

Fay, who’s previously written for TV series such as The Mill, has written an impressive script.

While it has some dark and harrowing scenes there are many inspiring moments too.

It’s also full of humour and many of Joe Hill’s songs, such as Rebel Girl, There is Power in a Union and Casey Jones the Union Scab. They are performed by Liverpool Socialist Singers and the Liverpool LGBT Choir.

In one of his last letters, Joe said, “I was framed on a murder charge by the bosses who wanted to keep working folk down to maintain their profits.

“But I didn’t die—so stop mourning and get organising.”

A powerful message and play—with lessons for today.

Written by John Fay
Salford Arts Theatre,
Salford M5 4BS.
27 November
Lantern Theatre, Liverpool L1 0AJ
28 November

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Article information

Tue 24 Nov 2015, 16:53 GMT
Issue No. 2481
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