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Joan Tuckett

 

Born in 1895, Joan was the sister of fellow Communist, Angela Tuckett (see separate entry).  

 

Their aunt, Enid Stacy (1868-1903), had been active in progressive politics at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A trades unionist, politician and educationalist, she was was the eldest of four children of Henry Stacy, painter, and his wife Rose Deeley. Enid married Percy Widdrington, clergyman, and they had one son but, more notably, she was awarded a BA degree by London University and taught at Bristol university. This family legacy was notably inherited by her nieces Angela and Joan Tuckett.

 

Joan was a solicitor who managed to fit into her life political activism, Marxist study, internationalism, feminism, as well as being a qualified pilot and international hockey player.  

 

But, perhaps  more importantly, she was also an enthusiastic playwright and amateur theatrical producer. Together with Angela, she wrote the following plays: `The Bulls see Red’, `Passing unnoticed’, `Smash and Grab’, `Aiden & Abetten’, `Charity begins’.

 

Joan was the producer of the Bristol Unity Players' Club, which was developed from workers' amateur dramatics clubs which were active in the Bristol area in the early 1930s and brought together by Joan Tuckett around 1936.

 

There was a Management Committee to deal with the club's finances, publicity and general administration and a Production Committee, responsible for considering new plays, casting and performances. The club co-operated throughout its existence with various other left wing organisations, including the Left Book Club's Theatre Guild and the London Unity Theatre.

 

During the Second World War the club managed to continue putting on performances despite disruption due to air raids and casualties among the players. It was only after the war that the failing health of Joan Tuckett combined with a sharp decrease in membership led to the demise of the club in November 1946.

 

The papers of Bristol Unity Players' Club covering minutes for 1937-46, correspondence, 1938-47, scripts, programmes, and photographs were deposited in the University of Warwick’s Modern Records Centre in 1980 by Angela Tuckett.

 

It is probable that she is the Joan Tuckett who is the subject of a piece in Bristol city museum, a plaster plaque original for a ceramic or metal casting entitled `portrait head of Joan Tuckett’ made by Doris Flinn in 1925.

 

Joan Tuckett died on 31st August 1957

 

Sources include A. Tuckett, `The people's theatre in Bristol 1930-45’ London, Our History Pamphet 72, 1979, and bits from several websites.