Heartbreak House and the Critics
From an untitled article in the Sketch, 22 November 1950. Sir Arthur Beverley Baxter (1891–1964), Canadian-born editor and journalist, joined Lord Beaverbrook’s Daily Express in 1920, and subsequently became its Managing Editor and, in 1929, Editor-in-Chief and Director. After seeing the poor press reception of Heartbreak House at the opening of the 1921 London production at the Court Theatre, Baxter went to a performance and thought the play to be a work of ‘exquisite quality’. Going backstage afterwards he undertook with the producer, J. B. Fagan, to arrange for Shaw to meet and debate with his critics at a matinee performance of the play. James Bernard Fagan (1873–1933), playwright and director, took over the management of the Court in 1918. He opened the Oxford Playhouse in 1923 and later became director of the Festival Theatre, Cambridge.
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