Theatre on The Tea Lawn at Lauderdale House

Arms and The Man

Arms and The Man - Credit: Archant

The Shaw Society’s birthday tribute to the late playwright is an open air production of his romantic comedy Arms and The Man

Lauderdale House hosts this year's Shaw Society birthday tribute to the Pygmalion playwright and former St Pancras councillor, with an open-air production of his romantic comedy Arms and the Man.

Running from July-15-18 on the Tea Lawn next to Waterlow Park, it's the first time for nearly six decades that the birthday tribute has been held away from Shaw's former home in Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire.

Upon his death in 1950 'Shaw's Corner' passed to the National Trust, who later opened the house to the public.

From its foundation in 1941, The Shaw Society organised walks to Ayot St Lawrence, and by 1952 these had inspired an annual pilgrimage from London to celebrate Shaw's birthday on 26th July.

What started out as readings from his works, evolved in the 1960s into staging whole plays, with The National Trust taking over to organise them in association with Michael Friend Productions.

When the National Trust unexpectedly decided to rest the tradition for 2019, Michael Friend Productions and SHAW2020, a professional theatre company made up of actor-members from The Shaw Society stepped in .

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Alongside Split/Shift Theatre, a new theatre company which specialises in reworkings of classics, they will uphold the birthday tradition with a production of Arms and the Man which deals with love and war in The Balkans.

Jonas Cemm, artistic director of SHAW2020 said: "We are delighted that Lauderdale House has agreed to open its famous Tea Lawn to Shaw's thought-provoking yet hilarious play.

"Bernard Shaw is one of the world's greatest playwrights, and we are delighted that a performance of his works can be enjoyed in these relaxed and beautiful surroundings."

Picnics welcome, bookings at