Last chance to design Joan Littlewood memorial

Time is running out for artists who want to submit their designs for a memorial to the woman dubbed the “mother of modern theatre”.

The cultural contest to honour Joan Littlewood was launched by Newham Council as part of its efforts to improve Stratford Town Centre.

Joan Littlewood and Gerry Raffles saved Theatre Royal Stratford East from demolition in the late 1960s by applying for Grade II status.

The theatre maintains Joan and Gerry’s tradition of reflecting the culture and backgrounds of people in the surrounding community.

To commemorate the legacy, the council wants artists to put forward their designs for a memorial. Judges will be looking for proposals that capture her spirit and character.

Councillor Conor McAuley, Newham Council’s executive member for Regeneration and Strategic Planning, said: “The memorial will act as a reminder of how Joan helped to put Theatre Royal Stratford East on the world stage. It will form an important part of Newham Council’s efforts, along with our partners, to upgrade and improve the area’s public realm for our residents and visitors alike ahead of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Kerry Michael, the theatre’s artistic director, said: “Joan was a remarkable woman, who with her company Theatre Workshop achieved international recognition and revolutionised British Theatre by placing the community at the heart of its mission. To this day that ethos continues in Stratford with its work touring nationally and internationally; so this commission in Theatre Square will not only arouse great pride locally but also from the artistic community around the world.”

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Cllr McAuley and Mr Michael will sit on a seven-strong judging panel, which will unveil the winning entry on June 24.

The commission will sit outside the theatre and will form part of other improvements in Theatre Square, where new paving and lighting has been installed.

Money for the project will be drawn from developers’ contributions, meaning the artwork will not cost the taxpayer anything.

The deadline for the competition is May 3. For more information on how to enter visit