Two “revolutionaries” of British drama scene have been honoured for their work as theatrical directors.

The lives and works of famed theatre director Joan Littlewood and school director Margaret Walker have been celebrated with the awarding of a Blue Plaque by Loughton Town Council to the East 15 Acting School in Rectory Road, Loughton.

Loughton mayor Sharon Weston unveiled the plaque last Thursday, and a talk followed from Philip Hedley CBE, who worked as Mrs Littlewood’s assistant and was a graduate of East 15’s first ever year.

East 15 was formed by Mrs Walker in 1961 after she worked with Mrs Littlewood at the Theatre Royal in Stratford, and the school was formed with Mrs Littlewood’s ethos of inclusivity and radical work.

Mrs Littlewood, who died in 2002, was a hugely important figure said Mr Hedley: “She created a revolution in British theatre for which she is universally acknowledged by all leading theatre people.

“She created ‘Oh, What a Lovely War’, which had a huge impact on British theatre.

“Joan was firm in the belief that the best theatre is created by a company working together for a long period of time.”

The epic musical created by Mrs Littlewood satirised the First World War and the patriotism that convinced a generation to go to war, and it led to widespread recognition for her radical style.

She was also known for her work opening theatre doors for many more working class actors, and this new spirit of inclusivity was carried on by Mrs Walker at East 15.

Mr Hedley said: “It was part of the revolution in British theatre, having far more working class people in it in the 1960s. It is great the local council is supporting the school in the way that it is. 

“It is wonderful they are being recognised at the front of the school like that so further generations of students will see that. They were two valiant women.”

The Loughton school, which gained its name after moving from the E15 area of Stratford, has trained around 6,000 actors, directors and production graduates including famed actress Alison Steadman and Phil Cornwell, well known for his roles in I’m Alan Partridge and Dead Ringers.