Permission granted for Stratford statue of director Joan Littlewood

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales with EastEnders actress Barbara Windsor MBE and actor Murray Melvin

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales with EastEnders actress Barbara Windsor MBE and actor Murray Melvin stand for a fundraising campaign for a sculpture to remember theatre director Joan Littlewood. - Credit: Archant

A statue of a legendary theatre director is to be erected in Stratford after planning permission was granted.

The bronze sculpture in honour of Joan Littlewood, who died in 2002, will be built on a stepped stone base in Theatre Square.

She had brought her Theatre Workshop Company to Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1953, performing shows aimed at working-class audiences.

She was photographed sitting on a pile of rubber outside the theatre in 1967 during redevelopment of the area.

The sculpture will be based on that photograph and go in a spot very close to the one where the picture was taken.


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Newham Council’s strategic development committee has agreed that the statue can be built, and it will be constructed by Philip Jackson, who created the Champions sculpture at Upton Park.

A public appeal to raise funds for the statue was recently launched and was supported by the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, actress Barbara Windsor and the theatre’s honorary archivist Murray Melvin.

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Sir Robin said: “This sculpture project will give Stratford a feature that will link to its rich theatrical history and provide a fitting memorial to a radical figure that put Theatre Royal Stratford East on the global stage.”

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