Deadline nears for East End heroine memorial

LittlewoodHandout pic

THE DEADLINE for a statue at Stratford to working-class heroine Joan Littlewood is looming. More than half the money needed has been raised, but time is running out.

The Theatre Royal Stratford East wants to unveil the statue on Sunday 6 October 2013, which would have been the director’s 99th birthday. She died in 2002.

The bronze by sculptor Philip Jackson will show Littlewood sitting on rubble at the theatre in the 1970s, above, when she was trying to save the venue from demolition.

Philip Jackson, the artist behind the 2003 Bobby Moore statue at Upton Park, has been asked to create the artwork in Theatre Square, the space outside the  theatre’s beguiling art-nouveau building.

Littlewood gave Stratford exciting new plays such as A Taste of Honey, which became a movie, Fings Ain’t Wot They Used To Be and Oh! What A Lovely War, which transferred to European theatres and Broadway and became a movie with John Lennon in a straight acting role.

Of course, Stratford is crossing its fingers that its  planning application to Newham council succeeds, although the theatre admits that Newham has given its “blessing” to the project.

Londoners, and particularly Stratfordians, can be grateful that the Theatre Royal was saved from the bulldozer. It has put on some of the finest productions in the country and found hugely talented individuals among the borough’s ethnic minorities.

Just under £130,000 of the £244,000 needed has been donated.

Hamish Scott 280813

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