John Moore has to admit that he has set a poor competition. He has asked the competitors to imagine that, in Shakespearean times, they have set up an anti-Vice society, and that after the first performance of Romeo And Juliet, it has sprung into action with a protest. It is suggested that the umbrage have been felt against the words of Mercutio before the balcony scene.
Sigh. This is presumably intended as a sort of reproof to authoritarian states, but it strikes me as an almost text-book example of how not to attract punters. It is too specific, too detailed, drops a heavy hint (Mercutio) … It is no surprise to find that there are few entrants and only six who spot that Moore wants a Shakespearean-language protest. The first to be commended is Allan. M. Laing, quoted at length:
However, let’s see what Mercutio had to say:
On to the winners, one of whom I can’t quote, as he wasn’t printed – Moore has stupidly given no word-limit and his main winner has taken colossal advantage of this. So Hugh Shearman – presumably the Northern Irish novelist born in 1915 and later the foremost writer on Theosophy – gets a name-check, half-a-guinea, but no publication (the reverse of Laing!). The winner, partly edited by Moore, is an interesting figure. He is Lionel (MacVicar) Millard, who had himself acted professionally in Shakespeare in the 1920s, and who actually took part in some 1930 schools radio broadcasts of Shakespearean scenes – including some from Romeo and Juliet! (In passing, it ought to be noted that this series not only featured Millard but Victor Clinton-Baddeley and Robert Speaight – both of whom had won competitions in the WR.) This was Millard’s second victory in 1934 (see no. 229).
Millard, born in 1900 in Cheltenham (he died in 1983), had also played a lucky role in the very first television broadcast of a play in July 1930, when he was given a part originally intended to be taken by Val Gielgud in a TV adaptation by Lance Sieveking of a Pirandello play, The Man With A Flower In His Mouth. Sieveking was of course also connected with the competitions – he had been a judge. Millard is the man in the hat in the two photographs of the Pirandello production (on a Baird system, and watched by, among others, Ramsay Macdonald). Sieveking, the producer, is standing, top left. Gielgud (brother of John) directed it.
In 1967, Sieveking was asked by the Inner London Education Authority to recreate the original broadcast, which he did using the same kinds of equipment as in 1930, and some of the original props/ scene dividers, designed by C.R.W. Nevinson (not said to have worked well in the original, incidentally). This was filmed when shown in 1967, and you can see that re-creation here.
I am guessing that Millard continued to do radio and even television work as well as stage work, but I have yet to find any trace of this work after 1930.