Two Angry Men
Two men battle against the establishment to tell the truth. This is the story of the struggle of James Ellis and Sam Thompson to stage the play ‘Over the Bridge’ in Belfast in 1959. A play that tackled the build-up of sectarianism and religious division in the Belfast shipyards.
Despite artistic director James Ellis agreeing to stage the play at the Group Theatre, the pair ran into censorship from the theatre’s chairman, Ritchie McKee, who believed the play could cause civil unrest. Ellis resigned from the Group and the pair were denied access to venues, in no small part because of the influence of McKee, who was regional governor of BBC Northern Ireland, chairman of the arts council, brother of the Lord Mayor and owner of half of the theatres in Belfast.
This short film documents their battle to stage the play against the odds and their eventual success in doing so, with 42,000 people coming to see the play and Laurence Olivier asking them to bring it to London’s West End.