“Some playwrights are overlooked in their lifetimes, others unjustly forgotten after their deaths. A few are both. One of these is the English playwright Harley Granville-Barker, a contemporary and friend of Bernard Shaw who was also an actor, director and Shakespearean scholar. And he’s left three or four plays that are among the masterpieces of early 20th-century drama. Don’t believe me? Go to the Mint Theater which this week re-opened a perfectly splendid production of one of Granville-Barker’s finest plays, THE VOYSEY INHERITANCE,”1 wrote Clive Barnes of the New York Post.

The success of THE VOYSEY INHERITANCE helped put the Mint Theater on the map. Granville Barker’s prophetic 1905 play about a trusted family firm whose sterling reputation conceals a mammoth Ponzi scheme had never been seen in New York until Gus Kaikkonen’s acclaimed helming of his own adaptation. The production was so successful that it was remounted in 2000 for a return engagement.

“Few theatrical works so shrewdly raise profound questions about the role of ordinary morality in the making of money, and none in English does it with such elegance and wit,” declared D.J.R. Bruckner in the New York Times. “At the end many people expressed surprise that they had been sitting enthralled for three hours. A playwright, and a company, can’t do much better.”2

Harley Granville-Barker (Playwright) was born in London in 1877. He began his stage career on tour, performing with Mrs. Patrick Campbell, before he made his first London appearance in 1892. He was only twenty-three when George Bernard Shaw in 1900 cast him as Eugene Marchbanks in CANDIDA, from which there grew a fifteen-year professional and personal relationship so binding that many came to believe Barker was Shaw’s illegitimate son. He joined forces with the manager John E. Vedrenne to found the Court Theatre, London, in 1904 which was to become the first modern repertory theatre in the English-speaking world.

Granville-Barker’s best known plays are THE VOYSEY INHERITANCE, WASTE and MADRAS HOUSE. As a stage director he introduced to the London stage plays by Galsworthy, Masefield, Maeterlinck, Schnitzler, Hauptmann.  As an actor he was acclaimed for his Shaw interpretations, creating the roles of John Tanner, Frank Gardner, Adolphus Cusins, and Louis Dubedat, and appearing successfully as well in such parts as General Burgoyne, Major Sergius Saranoff, and Mr. Valentine.

He was one of the foremost champions of a national theatre for Great Britain, and the first to call for a subsidized theatre. His stagings in 1912 of THE WINTER’S TALE and TWELFTH NIGHT revolutionized Shakespearean production in the modern theatre through their concentration on stripped-down productions and analytical probing of character.

In later years, his greatest achievements were the Prefaces to Shakespeare, recognized as among the finest contributions to Shakespearean criticism. Barker was 68 at his death in Paris on August 31, 1946, at which time Shaw recalled him as “altogether the most distinguished and incomparably the most cultivated person whom circumstances had driven into the theatre.”


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  • Mr. Voysey, Sr. George Morfogen
  • Peacey Kurt Everhurt
  • Edward Voysey Kraig Swartz
  • Major Booth Voysey Jack Koenig
  • Mr. George Booth Chet Carlin
  • Ethel Voysey Christa Scott-Reed / Sevanne Martin
  • Alice Maitland Sioux Madden
  • Honor Voysey Arleigh Richards
  • Mrs. Hugh Voysey Lisa M. Bostnar
  • Mrs. Voysey Sally Kemp
  • Trenchard Voysey Robert Boardman


  • Set Design Vicki R. Davis
  • Lighting Design William Armstrong
  • Costume Design Henry Shaffer
  • Original Music Ellen Mandel
  • Dialects Amy Stoller
  • Stage Manager Allison Deutsch
  • Assistant Stage Managers Douglas Shearer
  • Press Representative David Gersten & Associates


A panel discussion led by Mr. Jeffrey Segelin, discussing the fascinating moral and ethical questions that are raised by Granville-Barker’s amazingly topical play. Mr. Segelin is a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Centre for the Study of Values in Public Life. His column on business ethics, “The Right Thing,” appears the third Sunday of every month in The New York Times.