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When the Society was founded on 26 July 1941, Bernard Shaw’s eighty fifth birthday. He wanted nothing to do with the idea, and it was his curious letter of rejection that contained the phrase we quote here, and which was eagerly incorporated into the constitution of the Society. Reproduced here is the letter as written by Shaw.

“The Browning Society was a terror to Browning Shelley was dead, Shakespeare was dead, I shall soon be dead.
We all provided a rallying point for the co-operation and education of kindred spirits and a forum for their irreconcilable controversies.
So go ahead, but don’t bother me about it. I am old, deaf, and dotty. In short, a Has Been.”

GBS November 1941

The puppet of Shaw from the 2023 film, ‘Shakes Versus Shav’ starring Derek Jacobi and Colm Meaney Image displayed with permission of Caboom LTD


To advance public education and appreciation of the British theatre through the plays, writings, and ideas of George Bernard Shaw (“GBS”) and his contemporaries. Providing opportunities to study, discuss and enjoy the works of GBS and his contemporaries through public performances, readings, films, lectures, talks and articles in the press and the Society’s journal “The Shavian”.

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We are also pleased to receive added support to extend our outreach activities , bringing the theatre and writings of George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries to a wider more diverse audience. Help the society by donating today.

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