Your chance to create a memorial to Joan Littlewood

An art competition to create a memorial to celebrate the ‘mother of modern theatre’ - Joan Littlewood - has been launched by Newham Council.

It will also be part of the council’s 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. To this day, the theatre maintains Joan and Gerry’s tradition of reflecting the culture and backgrounds of people in the surrounding community.

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

Councillor Conor McAuley, the 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, Theatre Royal Stratford East’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.”

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

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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, which means the artwork will not cost the taxpayer.

Almost �14 million, including contributions from central Government and the London Development Agency, is being spent on upgrading Stratford Town Centre, which will complement the new Westfield Stratford City development.

Other public realm changes include new paving and street furniture in Meridian Square, Broadway and the Grove as well as a new sculpture called The Shoal, which will form the centrepiece of aesthetic improvements in the town centre and is due to be completed early towards the end of this year.

The deadline for entering the competition is May 3, with a public exhibition of shortlisted entries from May 23 until June 5. The winner will be announced on June 24. For more information on how to enter visit