Granville Barker on Theatre brings together some of the most important critical theatrical writings of Harley Granville Barker, a major figure of 20th-century British theatre.
Known as a pioneer of the National Theatre and Repertory Movement, and remembered mainly for his Prefaces to Shakespeare, from the 1900s to his death in the 1940s Granville Barker commented enthusiastically in newspaper items, introductions to plays, articles, essays, articles, and published lectures on a range of topics: the nature of theatre as an art form and as a social medium, the need for ensemble playing in a repertory system, the relationship between the three chief constituents of theatre - the actor, the playwright and the audience.
Granville Barker on Theatre makes available again these writings in which Barker dissects the state of theatre as he saw it, with coruscating critiques of the commercial system, the long run and censorship, the vitality of theatre outside Britain, and what he saw as the welcome renaissance of theatre in non-professional groups liberated from the profit motive.
These writings show a master practitioner concerned with, above all, promoting a new type of drama; vital not only for its own sake but for the sake of the health of society at large.
Harley Granville Barker (1877-1946) was the one of the most brilliant British directors of the first quarter of the 20th century. His plays include Waste, The Voysey Inheritance and The Secret Life. Colin Chambers has been a journalist, an academic and the Literary Manager of the Royal Shakespeare Company (1981-97). With Richard Nelson, he co-wrote Kenneth's First Play and Tynan (both RSC). His books include The Story of Unity Theatre, Peggy and The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre (editor). He is Professor Emeritus at Kingston University, UK. Richard Nelson is a playwright and director. Plays include The Apple Family Plays, Goodnight Children Everywhere (Olivier Award Best Play), Two Shakespearean Actors (Tony nomination Best Play) and Some Americans Abroad (Olivier nomination Best Comedy). His musicals include James Joyce's The Dead, for which he won a Tony Award. He is an honorary Associate Artist of the RSC.
Preface Introduction Part One: The Art of the Theatre 1) 1909: "Repertory Theatres" (from The New Quarterly) 2) 1920: "The School of `The Only Possible Theatre'" (from The Drama) 3) 1922: "Production of a Play" (from The Exemplary Theatre) 4) 1923: "The Heritage of the Actor" (from Quarterly Review) 5) 1925: "On Translating Plays" (from Essays by Divers Hands) 6) 1928-29: "Hints on Rehearsing a Play" (from The Amateur Dramatic Year Book) 7) 1931: "The Natural Law of Theatre" (from On Dramatic Method, the Clark Lectures 1930) 8) 1931: "A Word About Form" (from On Dramatic Method) 9) 1938: "Quality" (Presidential Address to the English Association) Part Two: Other Theatres 10) 1911: "Two German Theatres" (from Fortnightly Review) 11) 1911: "Introduction" to Three Plays by Maeterlinck 12) 1917: "At the Moscow Art Theater" (from The Manchester Guardian and The Seven Arts Chronicle) 13) 1928: "Introduction" to Plays by Tolstoy 14) 1928: "Ibsen's Centenary"(from The Observer) 15) 1930: "The Coming of Ibsen" (From The 1880s) Part Three: The Future of Theatre 16) 1910: "Theatre: The Next Phase" (from The English Review) 17) 1919: "Reconstruction in the Theatre" (from The Times) 18) 1922: "Some Current Difficulties" (from The Exemplary Theatre) 19) 1931: "Preface" to Little Plays of St. Francis by Laurence Housman 20) 1946: "A Theatre That Might Be" (from The Use of the Drama) Bibliography Further Reading