Joan, if you will…


“The noteworthy epochs in the history of the theatre have been the result of one of the highest forms of human collaboration: the work of art – theatres have created a microcosm of the genius of their community and given form and content to the hopes, fears and aspirations of that community.
Such a theatre satisfies a fundamental human need, it is popular and it is common to all civilised communities.
We have no such theatre in England today”
joan directs hostage 72
“Our present theatre in England is contemptible as an art and unsuccessful as a business. It is unnecessary to stress that most of the buildings are as obsolete as the methods of work used inside them: but besides all this, it breeds a small army of parasites, speculators of every degree of illiteracy and dishonesty.
The atmosphere of the West End theatre is humanely and aesthetically unsatisfying. The curiously affected speech and the lack of anything resembling normal activity in the movements and gestures”
Joan Cup 1
“It seems more necessary now than ever it has been, for the actor to go to life rather than to the theatre for inspiration; to listen to the speech of the countryside, the back street, the factory; to bring to your work, as the Elizabethans did, the raciness, tang and rhythm of democratic speech; to observe and note the movements of human beings, living through the daily stress of a violent age and to amplify your work with tried and precise mime, another element which seems to be lacking in the live theatre today”
The Other Animals 1948.jpg
Ewan MacColl’s ‘The Other Animals’ by Theatre Workshop

“In the course of our own travels as a company, in the years we spent touring mining districts, fishing ports and industrial communities, we collected material for a score of plays, some of which have been written and played with great success on our own stage. Of course such plays as these and the style of acting we have evolved have often proved unpalatable to critics and the adherents of the West end theatre, but we are seeking a new audience as well as a new style of presentation”

Joan Art .JPG
“On the stage, working to the fullest extent of our ability we have to trust our colleagues as one trapeze artist does another, this trust can only be evolved by the technique of collaboration, and in an atmosphere of difficulties shared and surmounted together. Such a theatre is a highly satisfying form of human organisation, and in itself attractive to a world which longs for positive values”
Joan Littlewood 

Published by

Free For All

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s