Harley Granville-Barker was an English actor-manager, director, producer, critic and playwright.
Barker made his debut onstage there at the age of 14. His acting work led to increasing discontent with the low standards of the commercial theatre. In 1899, he played the lead role in Richard II under William Poel, founder of the Elizabethan Stage Society. In 1900 he became a leading member of the Stage Society and this led to contacts with George Bernard Shaw, William Archer, Elizabeth Robins, and William Poel, among others. His first play, The Marrying of Ann Leete was produced by the Stage Society in 1900.
After success with the Stage Society, Barker turned his attentions to his own theatre company and with J.E. Vedrenne took a lease on the Royal Court Theatre in London. There he managed three seasons of repertory theatre. Among many of the works he produced were plays by Shaw, Henrik Ibsen, Maurice Maeterlinck, and new translations of Euripides. These plays were produced successfully in repertory. In the period 1904-07, Barker also produced, directed, and acted in ten of Shaw's plays at the Royal Court, establishing Shaw's reputation as one of the foremost playwrights of the time. In some cases, the great success of the productions was due in part to Barker's acting performances.