An Inspector Calls is a play written by English dramatist J. B. Priestley, first performed - in Russian - on 6 July 1945 at Moscow's Kamerny Theatre in the Soviet Union. Interviewed about this Priestley said that the play would have had its premiere in London but a theatre could not be found. Shortly after the play had been completed, Priestley and his wife were guests at a dinner at the Soviet Embassy in London and a discussion led to Priestley's providing an official with a copy of the script.
The play was first performed in English at the Old Vic on 1 October 1946. It is one of Priestley's best known works for the stage and is considered to be one of the classics of mid-20th century English theatre. The play's success and reputation have been boosted 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 April 1912, focusing on the prosperous upper middle-class Birling family, who live in a comfortable home in the fictional town of 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). Long considered part of the repertory of classic drawing room theatre, the play has also been hailed as a scathing criticism of the hypocrisies of Victorian and 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 (General Certificate of Secondary Education).