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Joan Littlewood was one of the most visionary and influential theatre directors of the twentieth century. Drawing on extensive archival research and detailed performance histories, and paying close attention to wider political and cultural forces, this innovative study presents a fresh examination of Littlewood's treatment of the politics of war, Renaissance plays, marginalised communities and popular culture in productions such as Oh What a Lovely War, A Taste of Honey and Richard II. The book breaks new ground with a sustained examination of Littlewood's paratheatrical activity that centred on her ambitious plans for the Fun Palace, a multifaceted cultural centre, and her numerous playground projects for young people. Alert to critical thinking on ethics, citizenship, cultural politics, class and space, Joan Littlewood's Theatre will deepen and extend knowledge and understanding of the innovative theatrical, cultural and community-based practices generated by Littlewood throughout her career.Read more
- Provides a thematic exploration of Joan Littlewood's theatre practice from her early days with the Workers' Theatre Movement in the 1930s to her playground projects in the 1970s, showing the wide scope of Littlewood's output
- Combines extensive historical, social and cultural contextual information alongside detailed analysis of Littlewood's productions and community projects, demonstrating how Littlewood's work responded to changing times
- Makes extensive use of primary archival material, allowing the reader to access material from Littlewood's early notebooks, production files and numerous private and company letters and documents
Reviews & endorsements
Nadine Holdsworth’s book possesses commendable breadth alongside insightful depth. Its research has been painstaking, it is engagingly written, and its structuring is elegant. It could, and should, be recommended to students and coleagues not only as a critical account of Littlewood’s work and achievement but also as an evocation and explication of the historical world(s) within which her work was located....This is a very good book. Nadine Holdsworth is able, as she has in previous work on Littlewood, to understand the contradictions of this woman: the foul-mouthed saltiness, important because of its fiercely anti-academic aspect (precisely what makes her so hard to encounter academically); the erudite student of other theatres; the director of infinite invention; the woman who literally gave her life to her art in a country too snobbish and hidebound to realize what it had."
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- Date Published: May 2011
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521119603
- length: 334 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
- weight: 0.62kg
- contains: 12 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. A peculiar history: life, love and theatre
2. The war game: politics, ethics and representation
3. Controversial classics: resisting cultural authority
4. Poetic realism: representing working-class communities
5. Popular theatrical communities: outsiders, misfits and miscreants
6. Cultural democracy and spatial encounters: the Fun Palace project
7. Spaces to play/playing with spaces: young people, play and citizenship.
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