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. This book offers 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.
Nadine Holdsworth is an Associate Professor and Head of Department in the School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies at the University of Warwick. Her research focuses on British political theatre since the 1930s and theatre's relationship to the nation and globalization. She is the author of Theatre and Nation (2010), Joan Littlewood (2006) and co-editor, with Mary Luckhurst, of A Concise Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Drama (2007).
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.