Look Back In Anger
- Materials and Techniques:
Offset and letterpress on paper
- Credit Line:
Gabrielle Enthoven Collection
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Theatre & Performance, Room 106, case WW, shelf EXP
The design of this poster, which calls to mind Mondrian's grid-based paintings, was the house style of the Royal Court from the mid 1950s. George Devine imposed this house style after starting the English Stage Company in 1956, when he became artistic director of the theatre. Devine's plan was to create a writers' theatre, with a view to discovering new writers and producing serious contemporary works. Look Back in Anger, which he produced in 1956, is often seen as the starting point of modern British drama.
Written by John Osborne, Look Back in Anger is the story of a love triangle involving an intelligent but disaffected young man (Jimmy Porter), his upper-middle-class, impassive wife (Alison), and her snooty best friend (Helena Charles). Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace.
The play was a success on the London stage, and spawned the term "angry young men" to describe Osborne and other writers of his generation who employed harshness and realism, in contrast to the majority of West End writing, seen as more escapist fare. It transferred to Broadway the following year, receiving three Tony award nominations.
Typographic poster, with name of the theatre written in black and white over an orange background in the top quarter. The rest of the poster is on a white background, separated into different sized rectangles by black lines. The centre of the poster features the title 'LOOK BACK IN ANGER' in black text, and further information about the company and production is above and below this.
Materials and Techniques
Offset and letterpress on paper
Marks and inscriptions
Royal Court / Theatre / Sloane Square S.W.1 / Licensed by the London County Council to Alfred Esdalle
English Stage Company / Artistic Director George Devine / Clare Austin Willoughby Gray Alec McCowen / Gary Raymond Anna Steele
October / 28th / to / November / 23rd
Four Weeks Only / LOOK BACK / IN ANGER / by / John Osborne / Original Production by Tony Richardson / Directed by John Dexter / Setting: Alan Tagg Music: Thomas Eastwood
All Seats bookable 5/-. 7/6, 10/6 and 15/- / Box Office SLOane 1745 / Mon. to Frid. 7-30 Sat. 5 & 8-15 Mat. Wed. 2-30
Height: 42 cm poster, Width: 30 cm poster
Poster advertising Look Back In Anger at the Royal Court Theatre, 28th October 1957.
Labels and date
These posters use type, design and colour to suggest the style and content of the shows they are promoting.
The Royal Court was known for its challenging productions. In 1957–8 it used this distinctive format for all its posters and programme covers.
The vivid design of the Move poster conveys modernity and movement, while the Jerry Springer poster suggests the controversial nature of the show and the hellish situation Jerry finds himself in.
Look Back in Anger
Play by John Osborne, 1956
Royal Court Theatre, London
Offset litho and letterpress
Given by Mrs Gabrielle Enthoven
Museum no. S.24-1983
Marquee Club, London
Designed by Michael English (born 1942)
Given by Michae English
Museum no. S.21-1978
Jerry Springer the Opera
Musical by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas, 2003
National Theatre, London
Given by Avalon PR
Museum no. S.40-2003 
Paper; Lithographic ink
Offset lithography; Letterpress
Entertainment & Leisure
Theatre and Performance Collection