Harley Granville-Barker (1877-1946)


Harley Granville-Barker (born Harley Granville Barker; 
stage name, Granville Barker) was an English actor-manager, director,  
producer, critic and playwright. Barker made his first debut and appearance 
onstage there at the age of 14. His productions of Shakespeare's plays at the  
Savoy Theatre in 1912 and 1914 were highly influential. In 1912 he directed  
The Winter's Tale and Twelfth Night for Evelyn Millard; in 1914 he directed  
A Midsummer Night's Dream. Granville Barker did away with "star" system 
of acting and instead concentrated on excellence in the entire ensemble. He 
directed actors to speak Shakespeare's text rapidly, and used mainly 
curtains to create scenery, thus cutting down on the length of 
performance. He steered clear of elaborate, historically - 
'accurate' scenery and opted instead for symbolic 
patterns and shapes on stage. He extended 
the stage of the Savoy over the footlights 
and onto the first few rows of the stalls; 
thus his actors could play on an 
open stage, and connect more 
closely with the audience


A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, 
directed by Harley Granville Barker, Savoy Theatre, London, 
England, 1914. Here we see George Burrows and 
Donald Calthrop as Oberon and Puck 

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