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South Dartmoor
Community College

Year 10 GCSE Drama

An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

J.B. Priestley’s remarkable play about Edwardian England focuses on the class differences of the time.  Eva Smith has committed suicide, and an inspector visits the Birling family home during an engagement party.  Our performance of Act 1 focused on the revelations that Mr. Birling, his daughter Sheila Birling and her fiancé Gerald Croft are all partly to blame for her death.  Sheila is the bright hope; whilst being a typically spoilt rich young lady, she immediately recognises her guilt and is remorseful to the extent that in Act 2 she changes, representing a brave new future for the social divide evident in 1910 and in 1945 when the play was written. 

The Year 10s produced, directed and performed Act 1 of this advanced play,  and whilst they did not perform Act 2 or 3, the rest of the characters, Eric Birling – the son, and Mrs. Birling, are also seen to be partly to blame.  Whilst the drunk Eric is unpredictable it appears as though he too will change; whilst the others remain implacably fixed in their views and biases.  Like Eva, Gerald’s father is never seen in the play, but he represents the real evil in J.B. Priestley’s view – class-based society.

The Year 10s independently directed, acted and produced the play which they performed to a private audience in February.  All the acting choices, setting, costumes, sound, lighting were their own, guided by two student directors.  The work was exceptional for students of this experience and age – they completely immersed themselves in the play, focusing on detail and precise enactment of Edwardian people.  The play has demanding language, concepts and some really long speeches – all of which the students excelled at.  Their learning and progress in stagecraft has been astonishing.

Whilst very nervous, the students also performed to Year 11 – a daunting prospect but one which they took in their stride.  They are a very special group and company and deserve every future success.  They are hard-working and professional – it has been a privilege to support their journey.

Ralph Wickenden

A word from the directors:

This show’s characters, costumes, set design, lighting, sound, and hair and make-up were achieved entirely through the hard work of our GCSE drama class. 

We, as a group, are extremely proud of our work on this play, and we thank everyone for coming to support us.  We hope you enjoyed our performance.

Bee Gregson & Gracie Cobley