Joan Littlewood

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Joan Littlewood
Maudie Joan Littlewood
BirthplaceStockwell, London, England
Theatre director
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Littlewood, Joan


Born 1914 in London. British director and theatrical figure.

Littlewood studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She and E. MacColl founded Theater Union, an amateur troupe that functioned between 1935 and 1939, and Theater Workshop (1945), a professional troupe that toured the cities of Great Britain and Western Europe.

In 1953 the workshop rented space at the Theater Royal in the London suburb of Stratford; Littlewood continues to work there (with hiatuses). Her outstanding productions have included Behan’s The Quare Fellow (1956) and The Hostage (1958), Shakespeare’s Macbeth (in contemporary dress; performed in Moscow, 1957), Delaney’s A Taste of Honey (1958), Chilton’s Oh What a Lovely War! (1963), Garson’s MacBird! (1967), Ingraham and Wells’ Mrs. Wilson’s Diary (1968), and the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (1972) by T. Rice and E. Weber.

Littlewood, an innovative director oriented toward mass audiences, uses sharp satirical generalizations in her productions and struggles against routine commercial theater in Britain.


Soveremennyi angliiskii teatr. Moscow [1963].
Taylor, J. R. Anger and After. London [1963].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Another one of Joan Littlewood's brood of amazing actors leaves us."
(2) But the Fun Palace wasn't just a physical shell: Conceived with progressive theater director Joan Littlewood, it was intended to be an interactive environment with a social agenda, retraining working-class East Londoners to engage with new technology in a fusion of entertainment and education.
HHHII Joan Littlewood was the enfant terrible of British Theatre, an agit prop, left-wing idealist, who derided and sneered at those with whom she could not compete.
Christopher Morley THEATRE Miss Littlewood The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon HHHII Joan Littlewood was the enfant terrible of British Theatre, an agit prop, left-wing idealist, who derided and sneered at those with whom she could not compete.
More recently practitioners are leading the way, such as Alan Lyddiard on his own and in his work with older artists through Community Arts International, and Stella Duffy in her excellent re-invigoration of Joan Littlewood's Fun Palaces.
Hamilton Wright and David Pichette; Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl; Of Marriage and Men: A Comedy Double-Bill and O'Flaherty V.C., both by Shaw; Oh What a Lovely War, book by Joan Littlewood, Theatre Workshop, and Charles Chilton; A Christmas Carol, adapted from Dickens by Tim Carroll; The Orchard (After Chekhov) by Sarena Parmar; The Baroness and the Pig by Michael Mackenzie; and Henry V by Shakespeare.
Joan's Book: The Autobiography of Joan Littlewood, 4th Edition
Lewis was born in East London in 1926 and got his start at the Theatre Royal Stratford East under Joan Littlewood. But it was his madcap expressions in On The Buses for which he will be remembered.
He added: "We're setting out play areas for children and an outdoor stage showing movies and doing plays on stage during our summer festival" And he is keen to take advantage of the nationwide "pop-up" Fun Palaces, the two-day celebration of creativity which launched last year to honour the idea of late theatre director Joan Littlewood.
The 1934 pavilion would be stripped back and restored as a PS3.8m caferestaurant, workspaces and public art platform, potentially drawing on the Fun Palace ideas of Joan Littlewood.
2015 promises to be a very exciting year at the theatre with the arrival of the Midlands premiere of a new touring production of Alan Bennett's The History Boys, a new UK tour of Twelve Angry Men and the anticipated revival production of Joan Littlewood's ground-break-ittlewood's break ing musical, Oh What A Lovely War."