The 1930s - Social Problems
In A A Milne’s Michael and Mary, staged in 1935, a young couple choose to marry bigamously instead of living in sin.
Most frequently produced published playwright until 1936 was George Bernard Shaw, the major writer in English dealing with social issues and a favourite with communist theatres as he wholeheartedly supported the Russian experiment.
His Pygmalion (directed by Valerie Wilson) and Mrs Warren’s Profession (not performed publicly in London until 1925) were popular successes, with Eileen Robinson and Vic Arnold as Eliza and Higgins in the former, and Cleo Grant in the latter’s title role.
Although denounced by the CPA Central Committee as non-leftist, Pygmalion was revived in 1936. On the Rocks was mounted in 1934, Major Barbara, Arms and the Man and How He Lied to her Husband in 1936, reviewers commenting on uneven acting ability and paucity of resources.
Shaw continued to be produced sporadically: The Dark Lady of the Sonnets 1948, Androcles and the Lion 1964 and Misalliance in 1996.
During the Second World War, Act 1 of Geneva (begun as a Workshop where novice directors tried out their skills) played to army camps.
Other Shaw plays which were workshopped: Man of Destiny 1944, Overruled 1947, Augustus Does His Bit 1951, Act 3 Pygmalion 1951 and an adaptation Not Bloody Likely 1991.