Miss Littlewood and me: Performing Ethnography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Joan Littlewood (1914‐2002) was a pioneer of theatre directing in the United Kingdom, most famous for her production of Oh What a Lovely War!. This article performs an ethnographic study of Miss Littlewood , a 2018 musical by Sam Kenyon, which documents Littlewood’s life and work using the style of the earlier show. Miss Littlewood ’s plot reveals details of Littlewood’s life and work, while its form mirrors the montage techniques that she pioneered in Britain. The article uses interviews and rehearsal observations to document aspects of the process by which Miss Littlewood was developed. It reflects on the tensions that are revealed between that relatively luxurious process and Littlewood’s political and financial realities. Ethnography was an ideal method for documenting this process because it facilitated observation of relationships between the various works and demonstrated the fluidity and creativity of academic writing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Musical Theatre
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2020


  • Miss Littlewood
  • Joan Littlewood
  • Ethnography
  • Musical Theatre
  • Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Sam Kenyon
  • RSC

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