An Inspector Calls


Writers: J.B. Priestley


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Period, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
The home of the Birling family, England, 1912
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes mature adult, young adult, adult, late teen characters


An Inspector Calls is set in April 1912, at the home of the well-to-do Birling family. Arthur Birling, a self-made businessman, his wife Sybil, their daughter Sheila and son Eric are enjoying a spot of port in the drawing room after dinner. They are joined by Gerald Croft, son of Sir George Croft, heir to one of the most successful family businesses in England, and Sheila’s new fiance. As the family allow themselves to luxuriate in their good fortune and position in society, they are suddenly interrupted by an unexpected visitor. The maid, Edna, announces that ‘Police Inspector Goole’ has come speak with the Birling family.

The Inspector’s arrival immediately disrupts the evening and the family grows increasingly unsettled when he announces that he is investigating the death of a young woman, Eva Smith. Despite the family’s initial refusal to believe that they are, in any way, involved in the unfortunate suicide of a young, working class woman, slowly but surely the Inspector’s questions get to the truth of the matter. As his investigation unfolds, it soon becomes clear that each member of the family (Gerald included) have secrets linking them to the tragic suicide. His startling revelations not only shatter their lives, but also raise profound questions about social conscience and class values that cannot be ignored.

Lead Characters

An Inspector Calls guide sections