Theatre Royal Stratford asks public for help to build Joan Littlewood statue

"Oh What a Lovely War!" director Joan Littlewood sitting on rubble outside the Theatre Royal Stratfo

"Oh What a Lovely War!" director Joan Littlewood sitting on rubble outside the Theatre Royal Stratford East in the 1970s. - Credit: Archant

Theatre Royal Stratford East needs its public to support a bid to build a statue in memory of legendary director Joan Littlewood.

The historic theatre plans to immortalise the director, who died in 2002, in bronze sitting on a pile of rubble at a time when the venue faced demolition in the 1970s.

Littlewood ran her progressive Theatre Workshop Company from the Theatre Royal in 1953 which championed working class people, providing a stage for their stories.

She also led ground-breaking new plays such as “Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be” by Frank Norman and Lionel Bart and “Oh What A Lovely War” which transferred to European theatres and Broadway.

Philip Jackson, the artist behind the “Champions” statue in Upton Park of Bobby Moore lifting the World Cup, has been commissioned to create the sculpture in Theatre Square.

The Theatre Royal has already raised 50 per cent of the funds but they need donations from the public to make up the extra £120,000.

Kerry Michael, artistic director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, said: “Joan Littlewood brought theatre to the people of east London and revoluntionised the international theatre landscape with her bold and powerful productions.

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“She was an inspiration to many and it’s important that we recognise the significance of her work and build upon her success to inspire future generations.

“We’re delighted to have raised over 50 per cent of the funds required to commemorate her with a statue in Theatre Square and urge the public to get behind this important campaign.”

To find out how to donate, visit