June 17, 2017

Battle of Ballantyne Pier ~ the pitch at In Tune 2017

On this day, one day short of the anniversary of the Battle of Ballantyne Pier, Sherry MacDonald and Earle Peach pitched their new musical at In Tune 2017, a showcase of new Canadian musical theatre, and its a presentation of Touchstone Theatre in Vancouver.

Sherry MacDonald, Earle Peach,
Kevin Armstrong & Jeff Hoffman. Waiting.

First of fourteen presenters, Sherry and Earle presented the opening number in their musical: The Battle of Ballantyne Pier. Called Life on the Hook, it's a loud and raucous number that celebrates men on the docks, in the middle of the 1930s: lifting, hauling, pulling, and all for scandalous pay and terrible working conditions.

Sherry introduces the musical's opening number

In 1935 the men on the docks had been striking for several weeks. They were being replaced by scabs, and on June 18, two thousand members and supporters of the fledgling union peacefully marched down Hastings. They were met by mounted police, teargas, batons and live ammunition. While The Battle of Ballantyne Pier, the musical, is not a historical piece, the events of this day in Vancouver's history provide the context for a powerfully dramatic story.

Earle Peach, Jeff Hoffman & Peter Boychuk

Performing with Sherry and Earle were Kevin Armstrong, Jeff Hoffman and Peter Boychuk. Sherry is writing book and lyrics for the musical, Earle is the composer. Local 500 of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union Canada, the ILWU,  have expressed interest and support for the project.


Composer, Earle Peach

Sherry MacDonald is a writer and playwright, most recently having her work, The Seduction Theory, produced at FemFest in Winnipeg. Earle Peach is an activist, composer, musical director, and leads the musical group: Illiteratty.

Earle Peach & Jeff Hoffman

Photos by Jeem.
Copyright 2017 by Jim Murray.


  1. Very nice post. What is next for this project?

    1. Thanks for your comment. The project continues at the writing stage.


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