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Famous Like Me > Writer > L > Joan Littlewood

Profile of Joan Littlewood on Famous Like Me

Name: Joan Littlewood  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 6th October 1914
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Joan Maud Littlewood (October 6, 1914 - September 20, 2002) was a theatrical director, famous for her work in developing the left-wing Theatre Workshop.

She had trained as an actress at RADA, and moved to Manchester in 1934 where she met Jimmie Miller (Ewan MacColl) and joined his troupe Theatre of Action. Littlewood and Miller were soon married. After a brief move to London, they returned to Manchester and set up the Theatre Union in 1936. In 1945, after the end of World War II, Littlewood, Miller (now known as Ewan MacColl) and other Theatre Union members formed Theatre Workshop. In 1953 Theatre Workshop took up residence in Stratford in East London. She and MacColl were married for about fifteen years, but divorced in 1950. Her partner, from her split with MacColl until his death in 1975, was Gerry Raffles, a founder member of Theatre Workshop. After his death she moved to Paris where she lived until her death in 2002. Late in life, she was a companion of Baron Philippe de Rothschild and wrote his memoirs, "Milady Vine."

The company gained international fame, and performed in France and the USSR. One of Littlewood's most famous productions was the British première of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children (1955), which she directed and in which she also played the lead. The work for which she is now best-remembered is probably the satirical musical, Oh! What a Lovely War (1963), which gained great critical acclaim and was subsequently filmed.


  • Joan's Book: Joan Littlewood's Peculiar History As She Tells It ISBN 0413773183
  • Agit-Prop to Theatre Workshop, Political Playscripts, 1930-1950, edited by Howard Goorney and Ewan MacColl. 1986. ISBN 0719022118
  • Journeyman, an Autobiography, by Ewan MacColl. 1990. ISBN 0283060360

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Joan Littlewood