Newham

Joan Littlewood sculpture to be unveiled later this year

31 July 2015 in Events and Mayor
An eagerly awaited sculpture of legendary theatre director Joan Littlewood will be unveiled in October following a successful fundraising campaign.
Final planning approval for the sculpture has now been given by Newham Council’s Strategic Development Committee and a date for its unveiling has been set for Sunday 4 October.

Pioneering director Joan Littlewood, who died in 2002, brought her Theatre Workshop Company, which performed shows aimed at working-class audiences, to the Stratford Theatre in 1953. The sculpture is based on a famous photograph of her sitting on a pile of rubble outside the theatre in 1967 when the area was being developed.

International artist Philip Jackson has bee commissioned to create the bronze sculpture which will be placed in Theatre Square close to Theatre Royal Stratford East. He is famous for the Champions sculpture of Sir Bobby Moore at Upton Park, the sculpture of Sir Alex Ferguson for Manchester United FC and more recently Gandhi in Parliament Square.

A public fundraising campaign for the sculpture was led by film and television actor Murray Melvin who is also the theatre’s honorary archivist and Eastenders star Barbara Windsor.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said: “Stratford is now a world-leading residential, business and tourism destination and Theatre Royal Stratford East has played a huge role in delivering this. With the area changing at such a rapid pace, it is important not to forget its rich history – this is why we have always supported this project. This memorial will be a fitting tribute to an inspiration director who put Theatre Royal Stratford East on the global stage.”

Kerry Michael, Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East said: “The sculpture of Joan Littlewood will be a permanent reminder of her great contribution not just to British Theatre, but to World Theatre. We are proud of our history at Theatre Royal Stratford East and this is the perfect way to celebrate it.”

Murray Melvin said: “I’m delighted to hear that in Joan Littlewood’s birthday month of October – and in her Centenary Year – a sculpture by Philip Jackson will be unveiled in Theatre Square in recognition of her great contribution to the community of Stratford and theatre.”