New PDF release: Joan Littlewood

By Nadine Holdsworth

ISBN-10: 0203448480

ISBN-13: 9780203448489

ISBN-10: 0415338867

ISBN-13: 9780415338868

ISBN-10: 0415338875

ISBN-13: 9780415338875

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It just needs cherishing. (TRSE Archive) In 1969, activists for the Theatre Royal Club, led by Christine Jackson, together with children, teachers and helpers took over, cleaned and decorated a disused factory so that is could be used for classes, games and drama therapy. In 1974, Littlewood gave the children responsibility for organising a Grand Easter Fair in an old National Car Park site and established a Zoological Garden for the Easter holidays. Heavily subsidised by Littlewood and Raffles, all these activities came under the auspices of the Fun Palace Trust.

Whilst accusing the play of blatant Communist propaganda, the reviewer for the Scotsman praised the strength of the production and Littlewood for proving ‘once again her masterly handling of grouping and movement’ (Anon 1952: 6). Littlewood used sound and motion to convey the rhythm of the train and the audience were intimately involved in the action as they sat either side of the elaborate set, which extended from the stage to the hall’s entrance. Despite being a great success, The Travellers ironically marked the end of touring for Theatre Workshop.

Similarly, a ‘music area’ would provide access to instruments, free instruction, recording facilities, a music library and places to listen during the day, followed by jamming sessions, music festivals and dancing in the evening. An ‘acting area’ dedicated to drama therapy formed an important and exciting part of Littlewood’s vision. Rather than performing to an audience, she proposed a theatre of everyday life in which people would use theatre to explore ideas, events and dilemmas that directly affected them.

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Joan Littlewood by Nadine Holdsworth

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