Dynamic new play comes to Halton Mill

The cast of Joan and Jimmy in miniature form.
The cast of Joan and Jimmy in miniature form.

A dynamic new play, exploring the relationship between revolutionary theatre director, Joan Littlewood and her one time husband and partner Jimmy Miller (aka Ewan MacColl) will be coming to Halton on Friday, March 8 as part of a tour of village halls and venues throughout the north of England.

Joan and Jimmy – a musical production, created by writer Jim Woodland and director Mike Bettison, of rural touring organisation Blaize, whose work, bringing theatre, music, dance and comedy to small village venues in the north, continues the tradition first established by Littlewood, over sixty years ago.

The cast of Joan and Jimmy which will be performed at Halton Mill.

The cast of Joan and Jimmy which will be performed at Halton Mill.

Director Mike Bettison said: “We are delighted to be touring this production round village halls and venues as it pays tribute to the work pioneered all those years ago by Joan and Jimmy.”

Dubbed ‘The Mother of Modern Theatre,’ Littlewood devoted her life to community theatre, making it her mission to ensure the art form was more accessible to 
the people of the north in the 1950s and 60s.

Joan and Jimmy, will tell the story of her life and that of Jimmy Miller as they stood among the rubble of 1945 post-war Britain. Jimmy Miller had changed his name to Ewan MacColl and both embarked on a career in radical political theatre, performing one night stands across the Northern England – an early form of rural touring.

Together, they founded Theatre Workshop in Kendal back in 1946, with a travelling troupe of storytellers and outlaws committed to the overthrow of the established order where the rich got richer and the poor got austerity.

The script includes original music, by writer and musician Jim Woodland, in a bid to echo the work of Jimmy Miller – famous for penning some of the folk world’s favourite songs, such as Dirty Old Town and The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

In the theatre workshop tradition, Joan and Jimmy asks the audience to reach their own conclusions and take the ending of these stories and songs 
beyond the village hall and into their own lives.

The production stars actress Hayley Doherty as Joan, Craig Haley as Jimmy. Actors Lawrence Neale and Stephanie Hackett make up the rest of the cast.

Lester Simpson (of acapella folk trio Coope, Boyes and Simpson) is musical director. The play is suitable for adults and children 12+ .

The play will be performed at Halton Mill, Mill Lane, Halton on Friday, March 8 at 7.30pm. Tickets £10 / £8 are available by calling :07582 789406.Alternatively, visit the website at www.spotonlancashire.co.uk.

Halton Mill is owned by the award- winning Lancaster Cohousing.

Pictured are: Craig Haley, Stephanie Hackett, Lawrence Neale and Hayley Doherty.