Composers and their stage works 

George Pierce Baker


American university professor and a writer of critical works on drama and the theatre.

Stage Works

George Baker made a significant contribution to the development of American drama through the instruction, encouragement, and inspiration he gave young writers in his 47 Workshop at Harvard. Through the years it was attended by such writers as Sidney Howard, Eugene O'Neill, Edward Sheldon, Percy MacKaye, Philip Barry, S. N. Behrman, John Mason Brown, and Thomas Wolfe.

Baker was himself a student at Harvard; following his graduation in 1887 he joined the faculty, and in 1905 he was made a full professor of English. He sponsored the Harvard Dramatic Club when it was established in 1908, and his course entitled English 47, on dramatic composition, developed into the 47 Workshop, which was to function as a laboratory where fledgling writers could stage their works without the pressures of the commercial theatre. It was his conviction that a dramatist must have a thorough knowledge of the living stage and its technical problems. Consequently, his students had to construct scenery as well as act and direct.

Since the unorthodox workshop made Harvard somewhat uneasy, in 1925 Baker moved to expanded quarters at Yale University, where he organised a department of drama and became director of the University Theatre. He retired in 1933, having published a number of works on the theatre, including The Principles of Argumentation (1895), The Development of Shakespeare as a Dramatist (1907), and Dramatic Technique (1919).