Nigel Playfair (1874-1934)

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Sir Nigel Playfair (1 July 1874 – 19 August 1934) was the British actor-manager of the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London, in the 1920s. He was educated at Harrow and University College, Oxford.Playfair starred in the Mermaid Society's well-received 1904 London production of The Way of the World by William Congreve and went on to produce a very effective modern run twenty years later at The Lyric with Edith Evans as Millamant (1924).He produced Shakespeare's As You Like It for the opening night of the Shakespeare Festival at Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1919, and brought it back to the Lyric in April 1920. Critics derided an unconventional set and costumes by Claud Lovat Fraser, but in what Shakespearean scholar Sylvan Barnet calls the play's "first modern production", their spare, evocative design was later acknowledged as a ground-breaking departure from the unimaginatively literal Shakespearean production typical of the time.[citation needed]Playfair has been credited with a major influence on the BBC's 1923 wireless Shakespeare's, the first produced by that organisation. He continued to work as a BBC producer for some years and is credited with having commissioned Richard Hughes to write the world's first radio play, Danger, which was broadcast on 15 January 1924. Playfair also appeared in a few motion picture films during the last years of his life.[citation needed]He was knighted in 1928. The National Portrait Gallery holds a pen and ink caricature portrait of Sir Nigel Playfair by Harry Furniss.

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