One Strand of Joan’s Legacy

 

Maggie Corbett

Maggie Bury Walker (On Right) 

 

From 1946 until 1961 a young woman, Margaret Greenwood (also known as Leila Greenwood) worked in the company of Joan Littlewood.

Learning.

Contributing.

Exploring.

From their early, penniless days spent taking theatre to communities across the UK and then into Europe (thanks to Gerry Raffles), to the trips ‘behind  what was then known as the Iron Curtain‘ (thanks to Ewan MacColl) the company lived on peanuts and a passion  for making truthful inclusive theatre.

Maggie Greenwood went on to marry company designer John Bury

Theatre Workshop eventually moved to a permanent base at Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1953.

Maggie performed less in her later days with the company – she became more and more involved in and fascinated by the production side of things – as well as running one of two Saturday classes at the theatre (the other was run by Theatre Workshop stalwart Glynn Edwards)  It was during those Saturday classes that she encountered the young Ann Mitchell and Philip Hedley – who would go on to become two of her first students in 1961 when she started an acting school.

The school that Maggie set up and ran for four decades was East 15 Acting School – she had encouragement and assistance from Jean Newlove during that first decade – Jean would develop the working practice of the school through the application of Laban to actor training   Brian Murphy was one of a number of her old friends who became guarantors and tutors.  Other classes were given by Theatre Workshop practitioners Howard Goorney and Clive Barker.  She would also meet her second husband Wilf Walker here, when he was a student in the second intake at East 15.

The Corbett Theatre at the school was so named because Harry H Corbett – a colleague and friend of Maggie from the early days at Stratford East (and slightly before) shared some of the spoils of his enormous television and film success – making the transfer of an ancient barn from Surrey possible.

There is much more to this story in the documentary No TIME FOR MEMOIRS

There is also a look at how Maggie developed the practice at the school across her four decades as director.

This feature film celebrates the life’s contribution of Maggie Bury Walker to the theatre and actor training. We hear from alongside many contributions from people who trained with her at various points in its development

Here is one of the trailers from my Vimeo page for the documentary:

 

No Time For Memoirs
No Time For Memoirs

 

 

 

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Free For All

I find myself constantly inspired by the work & legacy of Joan Littlewood. All the best people have an MI5 file!

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