HOBBS, the cricketer, has a bigger place in the heart of the English people than Shakespeare, the poet. Millions have seen him batting on the field or on the screen, or have read what he said about the majesty and mystery of the game. Millions of English people have never yet seen a play by Shakespeare. Millions more will soon be born who, when they grow up and are asked what play by Shakespeare they have seen, will shout in chorus, We have all seen Peter Pan; but the old greybeards and greyheads will mutter that Peter Pan was one of Shakespeare's worst works, and that his greatest opus was really The Private Life of Henry the Eighth. Hardly a state of things for England to be proud of, or even to ignore.
Surely a National Theatre is needed to bring about a better state of things: a place where Shakespeare would be played, and no longer falsely worshipped. A National Theatre is bound to be a good thing for dramatists, actors, and audience; good for all except, perhaps, the critics. It would be certain to have an effect for good and evil on the dramatists writing for the English Theatre to-day: a good influence by setting before them a standard that they could aim at, even