The pioneer and her projections – Miss Littlewood at RSC

Nina has designed projections for a new musical at the RSC called “Miss Littlewood”. The piece presents the life of director Joan Littlewood and how her approach was instrumental in revolutionising theatre making during the 20th Century. 

Erica Whyman directed Sam Kenyon’s debut piece with a strong company led by Claire Burt. Nina worked alongside the creative team that also included Tom Piper (set and costumes) and Charles Balfour (light) to create a piece that very much bears the hallmark of one of Joan’s own works. 

Joan Littlewood was known to use projection and other non-theatre technology in her shows to bring current affairs into the same playing space as the actors so we used period practical projectors and an LED ticker as a nod to this. Other elements of the video design included transporting the action to Paris using stylised painted imagery and film effects and titles to support Joan’s legendary journey to Manchester in a sequence that used stylised movement (Lucy Hind) harking back to the silent movie era. 

Imagery was also used to support each of the plays described in the script with the use of original playbills and posters from the Theatre Royal Stratford East archives as a frame or theatre marquee above each vignette of action.

Photographs by Topher McGrillis © RSC and Tom Piper

The show was well received by audiences and has been nominated for a UK Theatre Award for Best Musical Production.

★★ Whatsonstage

“an anarchic delight in the style of Miss Littlewood herself.”

★ The Stage

Designer Tom Piper has placed a proscenium on the Swan stage and much fun is had recreating scenes from famous Theatre Workshop productions such as Oh What a Lovely War. 

★ The Guardian

Erica Whyman’s production reproduces the seamless mix of story, music and movement that was Littlewood’s hallmark. It is as if we are seeing Joan’s methods applied to her life.

★ The Evening Standard

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