Sir Barry made a home at Blackhill in the Malverns in the late 1920s. He found the area both relaxing and inspiring. From 1929 to 1937, he joined forces with the Malvern Theatre manager, Roy Limbert to put on an annual summer festival. In the beginning, Sir Barry used the festival to showcase the work of George Bernard Shaw, including The Apple Cart (1929,1930), Candida (1930) and Heartbreak House (1929,1930). Sir Barry and George Bernard Shaw became close friends as shown by their correspondence which is held in Birmingham City Archives.
The actors and production staff who toured at Malvern from Birmingham found the setting and the work enjoyable and worthwhile. The festivals, however, were costly and were not, in Sir Barry's opinion, received gratefully by the people of Malvern.