THE life of a theatrical pioneer who did so much to inspire the Rural Touring Theatre will be celebrated on the stage at Goostrey Village Hall on Friday, March 1.

The play, Joan and Jimmy, is based on the life of the legendary Theatre Workshop founder, Joan Littlewood, who is best known for ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ and her innovative work at Stratford Theatre Royal in East London.

Joan was known as the ‘Mother of Modern Theatre’, and her work was inspirational – especially for organisations like Blaize and Rural Touring Theatre.

She devoted her life to community and political theatre, and made it her mission to make theatre more accessible to the people of the north in the 1950s and 60s, as they embarked on a partnership of radical political theatre, performing one-night stands, just as Rural Touring does today, throughout the North of England, with a troupe of storytellers and ‘outlaws’.

Joan is famously quoted as saying: “I really do believe in the genius in every person. And I’ve heard that greatness comes out of them, that great thing which is in people.”

Janet Ollier is organising the play at Goostrey, and said: “Blaize Theatre are bringing this production to us, fresh from their lyrically beautiful and challenging First World War show during last year’s Goosfest.

“They will tell the story of Joan’s life and that of her one-time husband and partner Ewan MacColl (previously called Jimmy Miller) covering the early days of Theatre Workshop, from Kendal in 1945 to Stratford East in 1952.”

The play is written by Jim Woodland and directed by Mike Bettison.

Tickets for the production, which starts at 8pm, are available from Janet by calling 01477 544467/07940 579723, by emailing, from Mrs Kettle’s shop, Main Road, Goostrey, and from ticketsource online, at £10 each. The play is suitable for ages 12+.

Oh, What a Lovely War! is an epic musical developed by Joan Littlewood and her ensemble at the Theatre Workshop in 1963. It is a satire on the First World War, and by extension on war in general.