Scene from Mrs Warren's Profession

Scene from Mrs Warren's Profession

George Bernard Shaw referred to Mrs Warren's Profession as 'this unlucky play of mine'. Although he wrote it in 1894, the play's first public performance in England was not until 1925. Banned by the British censor because the subject matter was deemed improper (the profession of the title is prostitution), it could only be performed in private 'club' theatres in the intervening years. It did open in New York at the Garrick Theater in 1905, but the cast was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct. The New York Herald declared that the limit of stage indecency had been reached: 'the play is morally rotten', declared the reviewer, '... there was a superabundance of foulness'.

Here the full cast of the National Theatre's 1985 production surround Joan Plowright as Mrs Warren (from left to right: Robin Bailey as Praed, John Savident as Sir George Crofts, Jessica Turner as Vivie, Nicholas Selby as the Reverend Samuel Gardner. Hidden just behind Joan Plowright, you can also just see Mark Payton as Frank Gardner).