“The Sunday Shakespeare Society”: A Charming Notice, from 1934, of a London Group That Met Once a Month to Read Shakespeare’s Plays Aloud

William Kent, in his 1934 book London for Shakespeare Lovers (Methuen & Co.), in the “Useful Information” section at the back of the book, had this rather charming notice (on pg. 174):

The Sunday Shakepeare Society was founded by the late Dr. Furnivall in 1874, and Sir Sidney Lee was for many years its president. At its monthly meetings held on Sunday afternoons (outdoor in summer), the plays are read by members, and in this way the whole of the Canon has many times been covered. The indoor readings are given at Tolmer’s Hall, 153 Drummond Street, Euston, N.W. 1. Annual subscription, 3s. 6d. President, Professor J. W. MacKail. LL.D., Hon. Secretary, Fred Tallant, 153 Drummond Street, N.W.1.

I Googled “The Sunday Shakespeare Society” and didn’t find anything. I wonder if the group survived World War II.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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5 Responses to “The Sunday Shakespeare Society”: A Charming Notice, from 1934, of a London Group That Met Once a Month to Read Shakespeare’s Plays Aloud

  1. Anonymous says:

    2 years ago it still existed – I looked it up then to see what else existed when our Melbourne (Australia) Shakespeare Society was founded in 1884. It had for many years been reading members’ own plays as well as those of Shakespeare and others. Frederick J. Furnivall’s New Shakspere (his spelling) Society 1873-92/4 disbanded, disgraced – academic wrangling and hoo-ha, but his Sunday Shakespeare Society, for ordinary working mortals, continued, as does his Early English Text Society (founded 1868) to this day. And yes, it sounds delightful!

    Barbara Sharpe

  2. santitafarella says:

    thanks for the great update, barbara.

    —santi

  3. Daphne Phillips says:

    I am delighted to report that the Sunday Shakespeare Society is flourishing. We meet on the third Sunday afternoon of the month at The Old Crown pub, New Oxford Street, London, very near to the British Museum.

    On 20 November at 2 pm the Society is to read All’s Well that Ends Well. Please turn up if you are interested.

  4. I thought you’d like to know that the Sunday Shakespeare Society is listed in CBD Research’s Directory of British Associations. If you email us or call 020 8650 7745 tomorrow, we’ll be happy to give you details.

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