Posted by: tailee | December 19, 2007

Joan Littlewood


Joan Littlewood was born in 6 October 1914, Stockwell, South London, she was trained as an actress at RADA but left and moved to Manchester in 1934 where she met Jimmie Miller (Ewan MacColl) and joined his troupe Theatre of Action a radical, political company based in Manchester, they sooon got merried, and they changed their company’s name into Theatre Union in 1936, and came up with more pronounced socialist agenda that based on Meyerhold (1847 – ?1940) who had worked with Stanislavsky at the Moscow Arts Theatre.

 After the world war 2 ended in 1945, Littlewood, her husband, and the other members of the Theatre Union formed the Theatre Workshop, where many had their first concact in theatre.

 Littlewood separated from her husband in 1953, after eights of touring all through UK and Europe in a hired lorry. However, she then took a lease on the Theatre Royal Stratford East, with her partner Gerry Raffles. There she produced some of the most influential and exciting plays of the period, including Brendan Behan’s The Quare Fellow (1957) and The Hostage (1958), Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey (1958), Stephen Lewis’ Sparrers Can’t Sing, Lionel Bart’s musical Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be (1959), and John Wells and Richard Ingrams’ Mrs Wilson’s Diary (1967). During this period (1955) she directed the first British production of Brecht’s Mother Courage at Barnstaple.

However, her greatest achievement was in 1963 when she created  Oh What a Lovely War, which later played in Broadway and filmed into moive.

Littlewood died, in 2002, of natural causes at the age of 87 in the London Peter Rankin.


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