6 SEPTEMBER 1946, Page 4

Harley Granville-Barker was a versatile man of great general ability

and personal charm, with gifts extending far beyond the theatre. As chairman of a committee, for example, he was brilliant, com- bining as he did extreme patience and tact with an unusual power of keeping people to the point and so getting vital business done expeditiously. The sympathetic smile with which he brushed aside irrelevances made the speakers seem sensible and important to themselves. His own plays, clever and interesting as they were, are not likely to live, and he was an intellectual rather than an instinctive actor ; but as a producer he was in a class by himself. Nobody who saw his Shakespearean productions will ever forget them. He was the Toscanini of the theatre, and it was a misfortune for drama in this country that a National Theatre did not come in his time, for he would have been its ideal director. However, he did leave carefully worked out plans for the future National Theatre, which the new, combined Memorial Committee and the Governors of the "Old Vic" have sensibly adopted.