Harley Granville - Barker - Encyclopedia




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"GRANVILLE - BARKER, Harley (1877-), English playwright, producer and actor-manager, son of Albert James Barker, of Hereford, and Mary E. Bozzi-Granville, was born in London Nov. 25 1877. Educated privately, at the age of 13 he was sent to the Theatre Royal, Margate, then a stock company's theatre and a dramatic school. A year later he made his first stage appearance at Harrogate in Wilks's Ben the Bos'un, and he first appeared in London at the Comedy theatre the following year in The Poet and the Puppets. After playing in a diversity of dramas he became interested in the work of the Stage Society and especially in the plays of G. Bernard Shaw. In 1904 he joined J. E. Vedrenne in the management of the Court theatre, London, and there produced and acted in many of these plays, as well as in those of St. John Hankin, John Galsworthy, Ibsen, Masefield and his own play, The Voysey Inheritance (1905). His later play, Waste, forbidden public performance by the Censor, was played by the Stage Society in 1907, as was also The Marrying of Ann Leete (1901). The Madras House was produced by the Frohman repertory company at the Duke of York's theatre in 1910. In 1913-4 he produced Shakespearean dramas in an original manner at the Savoy theatre. He wrote Souls on Fifth, a fantastic story, and The Red Cross in France, both in 1916, published a volume of three short plays (1917), and a play, The Harlequinade, with D. C. Calthrop (1918). In 1921 he was appointed public lecturer on the art of the theatre by the university of Liverpool. He married first (1906) Lillah Mccarthy, herself a distinguished actress in Shaw's plays and in English versions of Greek drama. She made a special success as Anne Whitefield in Shaw's Man and Superman and Jennifer in his The Doctor's Dilemma. She was also Jocasta in Reinhardt's production of Oedipus Rex at Covent Garden in 1912, and Nan in Masefield's play of that name, as well as playing the name part in his translation of Jensen's The Witch, both first produced at the Court theatre in 1911 and repeated at the Savoy theatre in 1913. Miss McCarthy obtained a divorce in 1 9 17, and in 1920 she married Prof. Frederick W. Keeble (b. 1870), of Oxford. Granville-Barker in 1918 married Helen Gates Huntingdon of New York.

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