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Closing Joan's Book: Some Personal Footnotes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 October 2003

Abstract

For many, the death of Joan Littlewood on 20 September 2002 at the age of 87 marked the end of a theatrical era – though in practice she had lived an increasingly reclusive life following her move to France and the death of her partner Gerry Raffles in 1975, interrupted only in 1994 by the publication of an autobiography, Joan's Book. Clive Barker, Co-Editor of NTQ, became a member of Littlewood's Theatre Workshop company in 1955, shortly after the change from a touring policy to a building-based company at the Theatre Royal, Stratford, had led to the departure of Ewan MacColl and others of the original group, and subsequently to the displacement of other members as critical success led to West End transfers. What follows is not a dutiful obituary but a highly personal memoir of the years that followed, and provides an ironic contrast between Joan's own published recollections and the experience of one of her ‘slags’ – liable to be called on to do anything and everything. Joan's own recollection of Clive Barker was that ‘You could only do three things. Catatonics, menace, and I forget what the third was.’ Here, with fearful glances over his shoulder for an apparition at the window, Clive Barker reminds her, and adds a few other corrigenda to Joan's Book.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2003 Cambridge University Press

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