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An Inspector Calls is a play written by English dramatist J. B. Priestley, first performed in 1945 in the Soviet Union and 1946 in the UK. It is one of Priestley's best known works for the stage and considered to be one of the classics of mid-20th-century English theatre. The play's success and reputation has been boosted in recent years by a successful revival by English director Stephen Daldry for the National Theatre in 1992., and a tour of the UK in 2011-2012.
The play is a three-act drama, which takes place on a single night in 1912, focusing on the prosperous middle-class Birling family, who live in a comfortable home in Brumley, "an industrial city in the north Midlands". The family is visited by a man calling himself Inspector Goole, who questions the family about the suicide of a young working-class woman, Eva Smith (also known as Daisy Renton). The family are interrogated and revealed to have been responsible for the young woman's exploitation, abandonment and social ruin, effectively leading to her death. Long considered part of the repertory of classic “drawing room” theatre, the play has also been hailed as a scathing critique of the hypocrisies of Victorian/Edwardian English society and as an expression of Priestley’s Socialist political principles. The play is studied in many schools in the UK as one of the prescribed texts for the English Literature GCSE examination.
- Cast of characters
- Criticism and interpretation
- Royal National Theatre Revival
- 2011/12 UK tour
- Film, television and radio adaptations
- Awards and nominations
- Further reading