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Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre

Rain Dog 10 May 16 - 06:35 AM
MGM·Lion 10 May 16 - 01:18 PM
punkfolkrocker 10 May 16 - 01:42 PM
MGM·Lion 10 May 16 - 02:39 PM
FreddyHeadey 05 Feb 19 - 03:08 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Feb 19 - 08:29 PM
FreddyHeadey 07 Feb 19 - 05:06 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Feb 19 - 01:28 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Feb 19 - 03:07 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Feb 19 - 04:05 AM
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Subject: Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre
From: Rain Dog
Date: 10 May 16 - 06:35 AM

BBC Radio 4 Extra repeated this programme on Saturday 7.5.16. It was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in September 2014

Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre

Such a woman might easily have been burned as a witch." Kenneth Tynan

When Sir Richard Eyre was head of the National Theatre he wrote to Joan Littlewood asking if he could put on a production of her masterpiece, Oh What a Lovely War. He got a postcard in reply. Something to this effect: Dear Richard...I don't know what you're doing in that building...you should blow it up.

To her core, Joan Littlewood was an anti-establishment figure. This programme illustrates her determination to create a theatre for everybody, touring villages and towns in Northern England for nearly a decade and then - when the company settled in East London - sending letters to the local trade unions to advertise the theatre to working people.

Did she succeed in attracting the audiences she wanted? Sir Richard Eyre gives his take on this question, along with Professor Nadine Holdsworth and critic Michael Billington.

The programme pieces together a selection of the best archive from Joan's career. The actors she trained - Victor Spinetti, Avis Bunnage, Brian Murphy - explain why working for Joan was different to working with other directors. Murray Melvin, still going strong and curating the archive at Stratford East, introduces us to the Theatre Royal where Joan directed her company for over 20 years.

Here at the Theatre Royal, Joan created the shows which made her name - Brendan Behan's The Hostage, Shalegh Delaney's A Taste of Honey, Frank Norman's Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be, and of course Oh What a Lovely War. The programme gives a taste of these shows and how they succeeded in being controversial, innovative, and entertaining at the same time.

Produced by Isabel Sutton
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre


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Subject: RE: Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 May 16 - 01:18 PM

Re the story of her response to Sir Richard Eyre's polite and indubitably complimentary request:-

Yet another example of a phenomenon that so often exercises, and of which Ms Littlewood, for all her indisputable directorial brilliance, was so prime an example --

viz —— why do so many well·meaning would-be do·gooders seem to think that being a 'progesssive' intrinsically and of itself bespeaks the necessity for constantly displaying the manners of an ill-bred guttersnipe? Whom do they imagine themselves possibly to be impressing by such idiotic attitudinising? What benefit to their selfrighteously oh-so-virtuous social causes do they imagine such uncivilised antisociability will convey?

Genuinely puzzled.....!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 May 16 - 01:42 PM

Blimey guv.. if that's how you react to a quickly dashed off cheeky postcard..

What else would you have left if she'd gone straight round and kicked him in the wedding tackle,
then set light to the building herself...!!!??? 😜

[ Happy 84th btw.... 😎 ]


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Subject: RE: Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 May 16 - 02:39 PM

Many thanks, pfr...

It was a bit of an ungracious response, eh wot·wot?, whichever way you slice it. Tho mebbe a bit tongue-in-cheek at that...

...but my question does still nag away, as to why 'progress' should always be so much equated with boorishness. Reminded of the 'bearded gentleman' in the bohemian club in Dorothy L Sayers' Strong Poison, who, in response to Lord Peter's mentioning that nervousness can be detrimental to the manners, "suddenly and loudly" exclaims "Manners are for the bourgeois".

≈M≈


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Subject: Joan and Jimmy - Blaize Theatre
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 05 Feb 19 - 03:08 PM

Touring play by Jim Woodland and directed by Mike Bettison.

“I really do believe in the community,” said theatre director Joan Littlewood.

And so do we.

So we decided to put together a full length play about the life of this fascinating woman entitled ‘Joan and Jimmy’.

Known as the ‘Mother of Modern Theatre’, Littlewood’s work was inspirational – especially for organisations like ours. ...

Our production, will tell the story of her life and that of her one time husband and partner Ewan MacColl (aka Jimmy Miller) covering the early days of Theatre Workshop; from Kendal in 1945 to Stratford East in 1952.



DL12 9LG ...28th February         Bowes Village Hall. Bowes, Barnard Castle
CW4 8PE ...1st March                  Village Hall. Goostrey, Crewe
CW9 6ES ...2nd March                 Lion Salt Works. Marston, Northwich
LA2 6ND ...8th March                 Halton Mill, Halton, Lancaster.
BB2 7PR ...9th March                 Mellor Brook Village Hall, Mellor Brook, Blackburn
PR4 5DL ...10th March               Longton VM, Longton, Preston
DN18 6AH ...14th March               Assembly Rooms, Barton upon Humber,
HU14 3QR ...17th March               Swanland Village Hall, Swanland,
NE47 9PR ...21st March                Allendale VH, Allendale,
NE65 8RW...22nd March               Wingates Village Institute, Wingates
CA4 0RG ...23rd March               Wreay Village Hall, Wreay, Carlisle
CA10 3HY ...24th March               Crosby Ravensworth Village Hall, Penrith

http://blaize.uk.net/joan-and-jimmy/ 


 


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Subject: RE: Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Feb 19 - 08:29 PM

sounds wonderful...not going to the southwest?


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Subject: RE: Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 07 Feb 19 - 05:06 AM

they seem to be based in Lincolnshire, part of the Rural Touring Forum/Network.
I think you'd need to do some arm twisting.

http://www.ruraltouring.org/members/search/rts-members


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Subject: RE: Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Feb 19 - 01:28 PM

the late Ian Campbell used to talk a lot about the Theatre Workshop. I think he'd heard a lot about it from Ewan MacColl.

The legend goes that Ewan wrote Dirty Old Town - just to fill in two minutes when they were shifting scenery between scenes.


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Subject: RE: Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Feb 19 - 03:07 PM

There's an excellent history of Theatre Workshop (under that title) by one of its members, Howard Goorney, and another (with scripts) entitled 'Agit Prop to Theatre Workshop', By Goorney and Ewan MacColl
More information on left theatre can be found in 'Theatres of the Left edited by Raphael Samuel, Ewan MacColl and Stuart Cosgrove
All are highly recommended (by me) and are well worth searching out
Just checked them out - all still available I think, but rather oddly, the paperback edition is about twice the price as the hardback - I've never really understood capitalism
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Joan Littlewood and the People's Theatre
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Feb 19 - 04:05 AM

"the paperback edition is about twice the price as the hardback"
This refers to "Agit Prop to Theatre Workshop"
Jim


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