Comey Institute Presents One-Man Drama About Labor Leader

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks" highlights career of Harry Bridges

PHILADELPHIA (June 2, 2008) - British-born actor Ian Ruskin brings his one-man show portraying the life and times of Harry Bridges, the fiery San Francisco waterfront union activist of the 1930s, to Saint Joseph's University on Saturday, June 28.

The Philadelphia-area premiere of "From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks" will be presented at 7:30 p.m., in the Wolfington Teletorium of Mandeville Hall on the Saint Joseph's campus, 54th Street and City Avenue.

Jointly sponsored by the Comey Institute of Industrial Relations at Saint Joseph's and the Harry Bridges Project, the multi-media production chronicles the story of Bridges, an Australian-born sailor who became a longshoreman shortly after migrating to the United States, led the San Francisco General Strike of 1934 and went on to found the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union).

"It's labor history," said Thomas Paine Cronin, director of the Comey Institute at Saint Joseph's. "Harry Bridges was politically powerful, a larger-than-life figure, and controversial. His contributions to workers' rights are immeasurable. The eight-hour day, health and safety and child labor laws didn't just happen. Bridges fought throughout his lifetime to win basic rights and human dignity for all workers."

Ruskin, who trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, worked in repertory theater in England, onstage in London's West End as well as in television and film. He has performed "From Wharf Rats…" for audiences throughout the country as well as in Canada and Australia. The performance includes excerpts from Bridges' rallying speeches of the 1930s as well as film and music documentation of that turbulent chapter in the history of the nation's labor movement.

Tickets for the event are $15 and may be purchased at the door or by calling the Comey Institute at 610-660-3372.

Media Contact

Harriet K. Goodheart, Assistant Vice President for University Communications,, 610-660-1532

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