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Androcles and the Lion

An Old Fable Renovated


  • Playwright

    George Bernard (GB) Shaw 

  • Setting

    Rome, some time after the death of Christ.

  • Synopsis

    "In this play I have represented one of the Roman persecutions of the early Christians, not as the conflict of a false theology with the true, but, as what all such persecutions essentially are, an attempt to suppress the propaganda that seemed to threaten the interests involved in the established law and order, organized and maintained in the name of religion and justice by politicians." (Preface, 1912) Shaws's retelling of the well-known tale of Androcles, a slave who is saved by the mercy of a lion.

  • Play Type

    Plays General

    Number Of Acts


  • Cast Size Male


  • Cast Size Female



  • Date of First Production

    01 September 1913

  • Production Notes

    'Androcles and the Lion' was first performed, in German, at the Kleines Theater in Berlin on the 25th of November 1912. The listing here refers to the play's first English-language performance.

  • Producer

  • Original Venue

  • Venue Notes

    First presented in English at St James' Theatre, London.

Original Cast  
Megaera Clare Greet
Captain Ben Webster
Lavinia Lillah McCarthy
Lentulus Donald Calthrop
Androcles O.P. Heggie
Emperor Leon Quartermaine
Lion Edward Sillward
Metellus Hesketh Pearson
Ferrovius Alfred Brydone
Spintho J.F. Outram
Centurion H.O. Nicholson
Editor Herbert Hewetson
Call Boy Neville Gartside
Secutor Allan Jeayes
Retiarius J.B. Turnbull
Menagerie Keeper Balliol Holloway
Slave Driver Ralph Hutton
Production Team  
Director Harley Granville-Barker