Books

My Kirsty – End of the Fairytale (2014)

My Kirsty

The short life and tragic death of Kirsty MacColl

Kirsty MacColl led a dazzling life – tender, creative, heroic and full of love. This book, by her mother Jean MacColl, charts with moving insight Kirsty’s early years, and celebrates her brilliant career at the front rank of the music business in the 1980s and 1990s, with such hits as the Pogues collaboration ‘Fairytale of New York’. It mourns her tragic and untimely death – killed by a speedboat in Mexican waters in December 2000. It also tells, with heartfelt truth, the shocking story of the elaborate cover-up and gross miscarriage of justice that followed and appeals for justice to be done in her name.

Buy My Kirsty: End of the Fairytale from amazon.co.uk.

Yum Di Dee Dah (2013)

Kindle Direct Publishing.

Yum Di Dee Dah

Buy Yum Di Dee Dah (Kindle) from amazon.co.uk (or from amazon.com).

The book is now available to buy in paperback!

Buy the paperback version here from the createspace online store (it will also available soon via your amazon site at the same list price).

The life story of Theatre Workshop’s choreographer Jean Newlove, Discovering Laban, working with Joan Littlewood and her marriage to writer and singer/ song-writer Ewan MacColl.

“Over the years I have regularly entertained friends, colleagues, and family with anecdotes of my early days while working as Rudolf Laban’s assistant during the Second World War and my subsequent career in Theatre Workshop as choreographer, dancer, movement-teacher, and part-time actress. It was a truly extraordinary time in my life — as it was for so many of us, whether back-stage or front-of-house, audiences and cast alike.

I am still proud to have played an integral part in one of the most influential and innovative companies to have performed on the stage. Conceived by Joan Littlewood and Ewan MacColl as a ‘theatre of action’ before the War, the agit-prop of Ewan’s Theatre Union developed into the professionally based Theatre Workshop in 1945. By an accident of history, Joan’s visionary direction and Ewan’s extraordinary gifts as a dramatist and singer required a third element, that of choreography, to realise their genius: and that is when I joined the company, in my early twenties — having already spent what seemed a lifetime of work and study with another giant of the twentieth-century stage: the movement theorist Rudolf Laban.

I was fortunate to study with Laban himself during the war, as part of a training programme designed to help women factory workers avoid strain while increasing production as part of the wider war effort. By the time the war ended, I had served out an apprenticeship with Laban — when he received a letter from Joan Littlewood asking for help in training the young Theatre Workshop company in movement, Laban invited me along on a ‘temporary’ basis. Instead I embarked on a lifelong career under his inspiration. Laban was also to become a ‘fan’ of the company after seeing some of our productions, expressing the wish that had he been allowed to continue his theatre work in Germany, this was the way he would have worked.

The ‘Yum Di Dee Dah Lady’ was the nickname given to me by Joan Littlewood. In the early days we had no recorded music for classes and I would beat out rhythm with a drum or accompany the movement vocally.”

This book follows Jean’s story until the birth of her daughter Kirsty.

Read Chapter 1

Sun on the Water (2008)

Writing as Jean MacColl
John Blake. ISBN 978-1-84454-549-0

Buy Sun on the Water (Kindle) from amazon.co.uk

Laban for AllKirsty MacColl led a dazzling life - tender, creative, heroic and full of love. This book charts with moving insight Kirsty's early years, celebrates her brilliant career at the front rank of the music business in the 1980s and ’90s, and mourns her tragic and untimely death - killed by a speedboat in Mexican waters in December 2000.

It also tells, with heartfelt truth, the shocking story of the elaborate cover-up and gross miscarriage of justice that followed, and appeals for justice to be done in her name.

This remarkable book is in equal parts a celebration and an appeal for truth.

Laban for All (2004)

Jean Newlove & John Dalby
Nick Hern Books. ISBN 978-1-85459-725-0

Buy Laban for All (paperback) from amazon.co.uk

Laban for AllThis book offers a simplified version of Laban's system which can be used by relative beginners upwards. We are introduced to the kinesphere - which simply means the personal space surrounding each one of us extending as far as we can reach. Then to the Dimensional Cross - which is simply a way of describing movement in three dimensions: high/ low, forwards/ backwards and side to side. Then we learn about Pathways and Trace Forms, Levels and Zones ...

Each new term is accompanied by very specific exercises - clearly illustrated with line drawings and diagrams - designed to strengteh and deepen our understanding. When we have grasped - and practised - the basic vocabulary, we move on to its expressive possibilities in drama and dance.

The result is a thorough - and thoroughly practical - grounding in the most significant system of modern times.

Laban for Actors and Dancers (1993)

Jean Newlove
Nick Hern Books. ISBN 1-85459-160-6.

Buy Laban for Actors and Dancers (paperback) from amazon.co.uk

Laban for AllThis book, written from a lifetime of experience, is a handbook for teachers and students wanting a simple, practical introduction to the Laban system of movement.

We are guided step-by-step through the concepts of Space, Time and Weight and the Eight Basic Actions. Each chapter is complete with easy-to-follow graded exercises.

The book ends with practical examples of how the movement training can be used in the development of characters in specific plays.

Laban motif