Littlewood, Joan

Littlewood, Joan

▪ British theatrical director
in full  Joan Maud Littlewood  
born October 6?, 1914, London, England
died September 20, 2002, London

      influential British theatrical director who rejected the standardized form and innocuous social content of the commercial theatre in favour of experimental productions of plays concerned with contemporary social issues for working-class audiences.

      After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Littlewood in the 1930s founded Theatre Union, which specialized in open-air productions, and the Theatre of Action. In 1945, in Manchester, she founded Theatre Workshop—for working-class audiences—which in 1953 moved to the Theatre Royal, Stratford, in the East End of London. The productions were at first mainly of Shakespeare and other classics, with some topical plays written or adapted by her husband, Jimmy Miller (Ewan MacColl), a folk singer and political dramatist. Gradually the group developed a more definite style. Influenced by Bertolt Brecht (Brecht, Bertolt), she encouraged audience participation, allowed onstage improvisation, altered the text, and used techniques originally developed in the music hall. Her later productions were collective in that the actors shared in planning the presentations. After the success in 1955 of Miller's dramatic version of The Good Soldier Schweik, by Jaroslav Hašek, her influence grew. Oh! What a Lovely War (1963), an original evocation and criticism of World War I using popular songs of the period, projected newspaper headlines, and other devices to emphasize its message, became perhaps her most famous production. Other outstanding plays, full of vitality, noisy, and broadly humorous, yet with subtle characterization, include The Quare Fellow (1956) and The Hostage (1958) by Brendan Behan and A Taste of Honey (1958) by Shelagh Delaney. Her theatre workshop company was disbanded in 1964, and Joan Littlewood afterward became interested in projects less narrowly theatrical. In the early 1970s, however, Theatre Workshop was reformed under her direction. She was also active in the creation of Children's Environments, Bubble Cities linked with Music Hall around the Theatre Royal, Stratford (1968–75). Thereafter she left England to work in France.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Littlewood, Joan Maud — ▪ 2003       British theatre director and writer (b. Oct. 5/6, 1914, London, Eng. d. Sept. 20, 2002, London), was a pioneer of radical theatre whose experimental productions, often performed by and devoted to the working class, helped bring about …   Universalium

  • Joan Littlewood — Cover of Joan s Book: The Autobiography of Joan Littlewood Born Joan Maud Littlewood 6 October 1914 Stockwell, London, England …   Wikipedia

  • LITTLEWOOD (J.) — LITTLEWOOD JOAN (1914 ) Un grand nom du théâtre populaire et militant; une flamme infatigable au service du plaisir théâtral, au sens où l’entend Brecht, voilà qui définit Joan Littlewood. Sa carrière commence dès avant la guerre, dans les années …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Joan Littlewood — [Joan Littlewood] (1914–2002) an English theatre ↑director. She began her career in the 1930s directing plays for ↑working class audiences. She formed a group called Theatre Workshop and developed new ways of presenting plays at the Theatre Royal …   Useful english dictionary

  • Joan Littlewood — (* 6. Oktober 1914 in London; † 20. September 2002 in Paris) war eine einflussreiche britische Theater und Filmregisseurin der 1950er und 1960er Jahre. Sie prägte den Ausdruck des politischen Theaters Großbritanniens nachhaltig. Joan Maud… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Littlewood — is a surname, and may refer to* Barclay Littlewood, British entrepreneur * Dominic Littlewood, British television presenter and entrepreneur * Dudley E. Littlewood, British mathematician * Joan Littlewood, British actress and theatre director *… …   Wikipedia

  • Littlewood — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Dudley Littlewood (1903–1979), englischer Mathematiker Joan Littlewood (1914–2002), britische Theater und Filmregisseurin John Edensor Littlewood (1885–1977), englischer Mathematiker …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Joan Littlewood — ➡ Littlewood * * * …   Universalium

  • Littlewood —   [ lɪtlwʊd], Joan Maud, britische Theaterleiterin, * London 6. 10. 1914; Gründerin (1945 in Manchester) und Leiterin (bis 1975) des Theatre Workshop (seit 1953 in London im Gebäude des Theatre Royal), eines politisch engagierten… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Liste der Biografien/Lit — Biografien: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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