William Haviland began his long association with Shakespeare in 1882 when he joined the company of Sir Henry Irving; until he left Irving in 1895, he performed a number of parts, major and minor, in the thirteen years he played and toured with Irving. After a tour in South Africa, he joined Johnston Forbes-Robertson and then Martin Harvey for his sixth tour of America in 1902.
In 1903 he joined Beerbohm Tree’s company and remained with him until 1905; he returned to South Africa with Tree for his fourth tour. His countless parts in practically all of Shakespeare’s plays ended in a 1913 Dublin production of Richard II with Tree. With all his credits in the major companies of the period it is small wonder that he listed among his recreations “rehearsing.”