J. B. Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’ opens the 2013/14 season at the Octagon Theatre Bolton

Octagon Theatre Bolton presents

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An Inspector Calls

By J. B. Priestley

Director: David Thacker

Designer: Ruari Murchison

Lighting Designer: Wayne Dowdeswell

Sound Designer: Andy Smith

The Octagon Theatre Bolton will open its new 2013–2014 Season with An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley, directed by David Thacker.

 The Birling family are toasting the engagement of their daughter, when the happy occasion is suddenly and unexpectedly interrupted by the arrival of a stranger at the door. An Inspector has called to investigate the tragic death of a young woman. A suicide, or so it would seem…

As the mysterious Inspector Goole interrogates each member of this affluent family he uncovers their connections to this tragic young woman’s death. Stripping away layer upon layer of deceit he exposes the lies that infect this seemingly respectable family and reveals the deeply entrenched hypocrisy at the heart of Edwardian society.

An Inspector Calls is J.B. Priestley’s most famous work and has been produced on stage, radio, television and in film numerous times since it was first performed in the Soviet Union in 1945 and in the UK in 1946.

Octagon Artistic Director and Director of An Inspector Calls, David Thacker, has deliberately paired An Inspector Calls with the second production of the 2013-2014 Season, Long Day’s Journey Into Night by one of America’s most famous playwright’s, Eugene O’Neill.  The actors who play the Birling family members have been through-cast to play the Tyrone family in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, a play that follows similar themes to the J.B Priestley play, despite obvious differences in terms of their geography and setting.  Like David Thacker’s five previous Octagon American drama productions, Long Day’s Journey Into Night promises to be a thoroughly moving and uplifting theatre experience.

David Thacker comments: “I’m grateful to Stephen Daldry and Peter Wilson for giving us permission to present An Inspector Calls as I have been looking for the opportunity to pair it with Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Both plays were written during World War II and are set in 1912. They involve families dealing with uncomfortable truths as they face their responsibilities. I hope that seeing the same actors playing the families in both plays will illuminate the thematic connections and encourage our audience for An Inspector Calls to also try Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”

The cast of An Inspector Calls includes David Prosho, who will be making his Octagon Theatre debut, in the role of the enigmatic Inspector Goole.  David should feel at home in this role having recently starred in ITV’s popular series Scott & Bailey as Detective Constable Ian Mitchell, alongside Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp. David commented: “I’m delighted to be involved in this production; it’s great to be at the Octagon Theatre and to be working with David Thacker again. The role of the Inspector is fascinating; his presence amongst the Birling family unit is both challenging and unsettling. He seeks the truth from each one of the family members, and yet out of all of them he himself is really the most mysterious character on stage.”

Brian Protheroe will play Arthur Birling, head of the Birling family. Brian has appeared in numerous theatre productions, including the original stage musical version of The Lord of the Rings at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Music fans may know Brian from his folk group days when he was a member of Folk Blues Incorporated (FBI). The group released three albums before Protheroe continued his acting career in theatre, TV and film – appearing in a wide range of productions and projects, including the blockbuster film Superman (1978) starring Christopher Reeve. Brian has worked with David Thacker twice before at the Young Vic theatre but this will be his Octagon debut.

Playing the role of Arthur’s wife, Sybil Birling, is Margot Leicester. Margot recently appeared on the Octagon Theatre stage as part of the 2012-13 Season in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. She is a celebrated stage and screen actress who appeared in The Knot of the Heart at the Almeida Theatre in 2011 to critical acclaim.  Margot received a Manchester Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance as Martha in the Octagon’s 2011 production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Margot was also nominated for a prestigious Olivier Award for Broken Glass at the National Theatre, directed by David Thacker, in 1994.

An Inspector Calls is at the Octagon from Thursday 5 September – Saturday 5 October 2013.

Tickets priced from £24 – £9

Box Office: 01204 520661



David Thacker is the Octagon Theatre’s Artistic Director. This is his fifth season as Octagon Artistic Director and this will be his twenty-second production at the Octagon following All My Sons, Ghosts, The Enemies Within, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Comedians, The Hired Man, A Streetcar Named Desire, Love on the Dole, Romeo & Juliet, The Price, The Demolition Man, Secret Thoughts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Habeas Corpus, Alfie, Macbeth, The Winslow Boy, Lighthearted Intercourse, Of Mice and Men, Tull and The Glass Menagerie.

The Octagon’s 2013 – 2014 Season is made up of ten home-produced productions, including An Inspector Calls and Long Day’s Journey Into Night. This is the first time that the Octagon has announced a ten-show season in its entire history. For more information about the forthcoming season go to www.octagonbolton.co.uk

Stephen Daldry is an Academy award-winning British Director and Producer for both film and theatre. His first three films The Reader (2008), The Hours (2002) and Billy Elliot (2000) earned him Oscar-nominations for Best Director. Stephen Daldry successfully revived An Inspector Calls in 1992 for the National Theatre which went on to perform around the world including a run on Broadway in New York. Daldry’s production was revived again in 2009 at The Novello Theatre and went on a tour of the UK in 2011 and 2012, before finishing in Wimbledon in May 2012.

Peter Wilson is one of the West End’s most prolific theatre producers, and has been responsible for some of the most successful theatre productions in British theatre over the past 25 years, including Stephen Mallatratt’s stage adaptation of The Woman in Black. He worked with Stephen Daldry on An Inspector Calls.

An Inspector Calls cast includes: Jessica Baglow, Mawgan Gyles, Kieran Hill, Rosie Jones, Margot Leicester, David Prosho and Brian Protheroe.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night cast includes: Jessica Baglow, Mawgan Gyles, Kieran Hill, Margot Leicester, and Brian Protheroe.


An Inspector Calls Performance Dates: 

Thursday 5 September – Saturday 5 October 2013: Monday to Saturday, 7.30pm

Matinees: Fri 6, Wed 11, Sat 28 Sep. 2pm

Schools’ Matinees: Wed 18, Wed 25 Sep. 1.30pm

NEW 5pm show: Mon 16 Sep.

Audio Described performance:  Friday 27 Sep. 7.30pm

BSL Interpreted performance: Thursday 19 Sep. 7.30pm

Meet the director and cast: Tuesday 24 Sep. (free, post-show)