Typed letter from George Bernard Shaw

Typed letter from George Bernard Shaw

Rehearsals began on a production of George Bernard Shaw's You Never Can Tell to open the Haymarket's 1897 season, but it quickly became obvious that none of the company understood Shaw's humour. After a fortnight's rehearsal he withdrew the play.

The Stage Society was next to put it on, causing a sensation by performing it on a Sunday evening, as part of the club's aim to produce works neglected by money-minded theatre managers. This letter refers to the agreement that the Strand Theatre should perform the play in the summer of 1900. Shaw insisted on only matinee performances. He didn't want a play of his to be the evening engagement outside of the fashionable 'Season'. Yorke Stephens evidently took the letter's advice in writing his speech, because one reviewer reported, 'He announced that "GBS" was not in the house, because he had seen the piece once... and nothing would induce him to sit it out again'.