Segments in this Video

Non-Traditional British Theater (05:11)


Joan Littlewood and her cast, making up the troop called the Theater Workshop, created an anti-war musical entitled "Oh What a Lovely War" 50 years after World War I. Gerry Raffles, Littlewood's lover and inspiration, was inspired by songs he heard on the radio which were wildly popular during WWI.

History of WWI (07:02)

Littlewood wanted to act out the death and destruction of the war in a humorous, but respectful manner. Audience members left the theater not knowing until later they had received an extensive history lesson. This production came out of a time when the true history of the war came to light, not just the history written by the establishment.

Joan Littleton's Directing Process (09:41)

Several of the actors and others who were involved in the production of "Oh What a Beautiful War" discuss what it was like artistically working with Littlewood. Kevin Palmer talks through some of the notes Littleton gave the company and how she preferred for actors to deliver lines conversationally.

Traveling Theater (09:13)

Returning from Paris, the theater company reopened their WWI inspired production in London, receiving glowing reviews. A similar production titled "The Hostage" had recently traveled from the London Theater to Broadway, and "Oh What a Lovely War" was expected to do the same.

Opening Night on Broadway (09:53)

Several members of the troop talk about the opening night of their show on Broadway and the positive reviews that they received the next day. They feared how the American's would react to the British version of World War I and how it differed from the American experience and perspective.

Film Adaptation (09:08)

Littlewood was seeking to raise funds for more of her theatrical projects, so she sold the film rights to a well-known screenwriter Len Deighton who took a different approach to the storyline. The players talk about how the show is still performed by modern theater companies.

Credits: Lessons from Joan (02:19)

Credits: Lessons from Joan

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Lessons from Joan

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Joan Littlewood gained world fame with her musical "Oh, What a Lovely War!“ which played on Broadway for an amazing eight months. Walter Macintosh uses a Melbourne revival of the musical in order to revisit Joan Littlewood´s life and career assembling an astonishing number of survivors from those days in the 1960s. Her great causes were community and political theatre, improvisation and working class language, all of which have passed into the mainstream of drama. The Theatre Company Joan Littlewood and Gerry Raffles founded in Stratford, East London, continues to showcase new theatre work inspired by its local community and the world today.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL155810

ISBN: 978-1-64347-976-7

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.