Granville-Barker, Harley

born Nov. 25, 1877, London, Eng.
died Aug. 31, 1946, Paris, France

British producer, playwright, and critic.

An actor from age 15, he directed his own first play, The Marrying of Ann Leete, in 1901. As comanager of the Court Theatre (1904–07) he produced many of George Bernard Shaw's early plays as well as plays by Henrik Ibsen, Maurice Maeterlinck, and John Galsworthy, and also produced his own The Voysey Inheritance (1905) and Waste (1907). He influenced 20th-century theatre with his naturalistic stagings of Shakespeare's plays, which emphasized continuous action on an open stage and rapid, lightly stressed speech. He moved to Paris after World War I and there wrote Prefaces to Shakespeare (1927–46), a series of books of criticism.

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▪ British author and producer
born Nov. 25, 1877, London, Eng.
died Aug. 31, 1946, Paris, France

      English dramatist, producer, and critic whose repertoire seasons and Shakespeare criticism profoundly influenced 20th-century theatre.

      Barker began his stage training at 13 years of age and first appeared on the London stage two years later. He preferred work with William Poel's Elizabethan Stage Society and Ben Greet's Shakespeare repertory company to a West End career, and in 1900 he joined the experimental Stage Society. His first major play, The Marrying of Ann Leete (1900), was produced by the society. In 1904 he became manager of the Court Theatre with J.E. Vedrenne and introduced the public to the plays of Henrik Ibsen, Maurice Maeterlinck, John Galsworthy, John Masefield, and Gilbert Murray's translations from Greek. His original productions of the early plays of George Bernard Shaw were especially important. His wife, Lillah McCarthy, played leading roles in many of the plays he produced. Among new plays produced at the Court Theatre were several of his own: The Voysey Inheritance (1905), the most famous, showing Shaw's influence; Prunella (1906), a charming fantasy written with Laurence Housman; Waste (1907); and The Madras House (1910).

      Also revolutionary was his treatment of Shakespeare (Shakespeare, William). Instead of traditional scenic decor and declamatory elocution, Barker successfully introduced, in the Savoy productions (1912–14) of The Winter's Tale and Twelfth Night, continuous action on an open stage and rapid, lightly stressed speech. He and William Archer were active in promoting a national theatre, and by 1914 Barker had every prospect of a brilliant career.

      After World War I, however, during which he served with the Red Cross, he found the mood of the postwar theatre alien and contented himself with work behind the scenes, including presidency of the British Drama League. He settled in Paris with his second wife, an American, collaborating with her in translating Spanish plays and writing his five series of Prefaces to Shakespeare (1927–48), a contribution to Shakespearean criticism that analyzed the plays from the point of view of a practical playwright with firsthand stage experience.

      In 1937 Barker became director of the British Institute of the University of Paris. He fled to Spain in 1940 and then went to the United States, where he worked for British Information Services and lectured at Harvard University. He returned to Paris in 1946. A selection of his letters was published in 1986 as Granville Barker and His Correspondents.

Additional Reading
Biographies and critical analyses of his stagings include C.B. Purdom, Harley Granville Barker (1955, reissued 1971); Elmer Salenius, Harley Granville Barker (1982); Eric Salmon, Granville Barker (1983); Dennis Kennedy, Granville Barker and the Dream of Theatre (1985); Christine Dymkowski, Harley Granville Barker: A Preface to Modern Shakespeare (1986); and Jan McDonald, The New Drama, 1900–1914: Harley Granville Barker, John Galsworthy, St John Hankin, John Masefield (1986).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Granville-Barker,Harley — Gran·ville Bar·ker (grăn vĭl bärʹkər), Harley. 1877 1946. British actor, playwright, theater manager, and critic particularly noted for his productions and criticism of the works of Shakespeare. * * * …   Universalium

  • Granville Barker, Harley — ► (1877 1946) Autor, actor y crítico teatral británico. Fue uno de los iniciadores del escenario giratorio. Obras: Derroche y La vida secreta, entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Granville-Barker, Harley — (25 nov. 1877, Londres, Inglaterra–31 ago. 1946, París, Francia). Productor, dramaturgo y crítico británico. Comenzó a actuar a la edad de 15 años, y en 1901, escribió y dirigió su primera obra, El matrimonio de Ann Leete. Tiempo después como… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Granville Barker — Granville Barker, Harley …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Harley Granville-Barker — Nacimiento 25 de noviembre de 1877 Londres, Inglaterra, Reino Unido Fallecimiento 31 de agosto de …   Wikipedia Español

  • Harley Granville Barker — Autres noms Grandville Barker H. Activités dramaturge, acteur, directeur de théâtre et metteur en scène. Naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Harley Granville-Barker — (November 25 1877 ndash; August 31 1946) was an English actor, director, producer, critic and playwright.Born in London, Harley Granville Barker (as he was then known) made his first appearance onstage there at the age of 14. His acting work led… …   Wikipedia

  • Granville-Barker —   [ grænvɪl bɑːkə], Harley, britischer Dramatiker und Regisseur, * London 25. 11. 1877, ✝ Paris 31. 8. 1946; setzte im Londoner Royal Court Theatre mit Inszenierungen v. a. der Dramen H. Ibsens und G. B. Shaws sowie mit ungewohnt originalnaher… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Granville-Barker — [gran′vil bär′kər] Harley [här′lē] 1877 1946; Eng. playwright, critic, & actor …   English World dictionary

  • Granville-Barker — noun English actor and dramatist and critic and director noted for his productions of Shakespearean plays (1877 1946) • Syn: ↑Harley Granville Barker • Instance Hypernyms: ↑actor, ↑histrion, ↑player, ↑thespian, ↑role player, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

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