The life story of the woman who singlehandedly reshaped the British theatre scene of the 50s and 60s Kenneth Tynan once remarked on Joan Littlewood's great ability as a director to make ordinariness fascinating and to produce "biting popular drama that does not depend on hit songs, star names or spa sophistication". This same flair is evident in her picaresque narrative - in her descriptions of the characters in her early life: of encounters with irascible caretakers when trying to rig a one-night stand; and of stage-struck cops. Outspoken in her criticism of those who obstructed the company's work, generous in praising those who contributed ot it, Joan is always passionate in her conviction that a theatre should be concerne with much more than simply the putting on of plays.Joan's book is an enthralling life story in its own right. It is also the testament of one of the most influential theatre directors and teachers of the 20th century.
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(198mm x 129mm x 37mm)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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UK Kirkus Review »
Reissued to commemorate the death of its author in 2002, this is the delightful autobiography of Joan Littlewood, the woman who changed the shape of British theatre and one of the greatest female directors of all time. Born in poverty in 1914, Littlewood won a scholarship to RADA and worked her way through life travelling and performing on a shoestring while gathering talent along the way. Experience in Paris and Eastern Europe gave her a wider outlook than most of her contemporaries, and when she and her company Theatre Workshop took up residence at the Theatre Royal Stratford East after the war she began the series of productions that were to make her name, most famously Oh, What a Lovely War!. But the British theatrical establishment never quite accepted her, and in 1976 she left England to live in France. Littlewood achieved much in her life, and this powerful book is a great testimony to her character and success. Every detail is perfectly conjured up as her experiences come to life before our eyes and we share her dream of a theatre that has no rules. Littlewood is frank and open about her personal as well as her professional life - her first husband Jimmy Miller and her lifelong partner Gerry Raffles are portrayed honestly, as are all the characters in her book. Newspaper cuttings, lines from plays and personal letters make fascinating inserts adding a real sense of time and place. As captivating as its author, this autobiography ensures that her memory will remain as alive as the theatre she created. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Joan Littlewood
Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop company was set up at the end of World War II and an international reputation for doing classical and new plays, including Brendan Behan's The Hostage, Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey and the devised script of Oh What A Lovely War.