Eastenders legend Barbara Windsor tells of love for Stratford’s Theatre Royal

Star says it ‘changed my life’

EastEnders legend Barbara Windsor has spoken of her love and admiration for a famous East End theatre.

She has been waxing lyrical about Theatre Royal Stratford East in which she and fellow celebrities made recordings about their favourite places in London.

It’s the place that means most to her, she has revealed.

“It’s a wonderful old Victorian theatre tucked away in the East End of London, and it’s the place that changed my life.”

She goes on to describe her own experience auditioning for Joan Littlewood, the director of Fings Ain’t What They Used To Be – the play that made Barbara a star,

The location of the theatre, Gerry Raffles Square, is named after Joan’s partner – who joined her in standing in the way of bulldozers when the old playhouse was threatened with demolition. In her praise the Carry On actress goes on to describe the interior of the building and how it has changed over the years.

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“In the quiet, I’m aware of history, of tradition, but there are wonderful memories too of the exciting, revolutionary work that was done on this stage in the Theatre Workshop days.

“So you can take the actress out of the East End, but thanks to Joan Littlewood, you can’t take the East End out of the actress.

“It’s true that outside, in Stratford itself, fings definitely ain’t what they used to be, but in here, in the dear, the very dear old Theatre Royal, they definitely are – and I hope and pray will go on being so for a long, long time.”

Barbara’s recording is for people with sight disabilities.

VocalEyes, a charity that champions access to culture for the blind and partially sighted, asked celebrities to name and describe their favourite places in London to open up attractions for the sight impaired.

Judy Dixley, director of VocalEyes, said: “We want to make sure that some of what is on offer in London during the coming months, and into the future, is available to blind and partially sighted people.”

Visit the VocalEyes website at www.vocaleyes.co.uk/londonbeyondsight to hear the recording and 15 others – which are also available to download for free via the iTunes Store.