by J B Priestley

Arthur Birling Charles Spencer
Sybil Birling Vera Newbold
Sheila Birling Jackie Shorten
Eric Birling Russ Hemming
Gerald Croft Frank Humpage
Edna Mary Trussler
Inspector Goole Clive Argent

Producer Ann Goodwin
Lighting Bruce Edwards
  Ridley Billingham
Props Bill Newbold
Stage Management Hugo Newbury
  John Folkes
  Bill Newbold
Wardrobe Iva Barr
  Myrtle Newbury

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7th - 9th June 1979


The play was written in 1944 and had its debut in Moscow in the following year where it was an immediate success. Early English audiences claimed that the plot contained too much coincidence. "If only everybody wasn't involved in the girl's life and death", they said. The comment offended J.B.P., but Priory audience can make up its own mind.

All three acts, which are continuous, take place in the dining room of the Birling's house in Brumley, an industrial city in the north midlands. It is an evening in spring, 1912.

Arthur Birling, a prosperous factory owner, is delighted with the engagement of his daughter, Sheila, to Gerald, son of his business competitor.

As the dinner celebrating the engagement comes to an end, an Inspector calls. He is investigating the distressing death by poisoning of a young woman in hospital.

The dead girl was a one time employee in the Birling factory but was dismissed following agitation for higher wages. This was upsetting in the extreme but was it the cause of her suicide? The Inspector knows there is much more to it. There was the occasion when Sheila, annoyed, and jealous, complained about a shop assistant who, as a result, had to go. You're right of course, it was the very same girl now lying on the mortuary slab...

As the investigation proceeds, it is evident that Gerald is also involved. To the dismay of his fiancée he also knew the dead girl secret assignations and that sort of thing. We begin to wonder if it really was suicide, or was her death even more sinister?

Extract from The Bedford Record 12 June 1979.
Actor follows in steps of Alistair Sim
THE mysterious J.B. Priestley play, 'An Inspector Calls.' was performed last week by the Wesley Players at Priory Methodist Hall, Newnham Avenue, Bedford. It took ten weeks of hard work to master the subtle dialogue of the play, but the company finally hit it off with Clive Argent as the Inspector, the part immortalised on the screen by Alistair Sim.
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