Sir Ian McKellen, Barbara Windsor and Murray Melvin were among the celebrities that visited the new Joan Littlewood sculpture outside Theatre Royal Stratford East at the weekend.

As part of an homage to ‘the mother of modern theatre’ the bronze statue by Philip Jackson will sit pride of place in Theatre Square, Stratford , following a successful fundraising campaign.

Murray Melvin said: “I’m delighted that in Joan Littlewood’s birthday month of October – and in her centenary year - a sculpture by Philip Jackson will be unveiled in Theatre Square in recognition of her great contribution to the community of Stratford and theatre.”

The theatre’s artistic director Kerry Michael said: “The sculpture of Joan Littlewood will be a permanent reminder of her great contribution not just to British Theatre, but to World Theatre. We are proud of our history at Theatre Royal Stratford East and this is the perfect way to celebrate it.”