J.B. Priestley – Playwright
J.B. Priestley was born in 1894 in Bradford, Yorkshire, son of a schoolmaster. He left Belle Vue School at 16 and worked in a wool office, beginning to write in his spare time. He volunteered for the armyin 1914 and served throughout the First World War, surviving the grim conditions of the trenches.
He gained a grant to go to Cambridge, and launched his professional career with "Brief Diversions",a collection of short pieces, which attracted attention in London. After graduating, he moved to London with his first wife Pat and set up as a professional writer, reviewing, writing essays and literary biographies and reading for the publisher John Lane. His fourth novel, "The Good Companions", came out in 1929 and was a huge success, followed by "Angel Pavement" in 1930. He entered the Theatre in 1932 with "Dangerous Corner", and dominated the London stage during the 1930s with a succession of plays such as "Eden End", "I Have Been Here Before", "Time and the Conways", "When We Are Married", "Johnson Over Jordan", and into the 1940s with "They Came to a City", An Inspector Calls", "The Linden Tree", "Summer Day's Dream" and "The Glass Cage" in 1958. During the Second World War he established a new reputation as a broadcaster. A prolific writer he continued writing novels, notably "Bright Day" and "Lost Empires", and an important list of non-fiction, "English Journey" launched him in a new role as a social commentator,
"Midnight on the Desert" & "Rain Upon Godshill" were chapters of autobiography, "Margin Released" a memoir, "Literature and Western Man" the sum of a lifetime's reading, and three social histories "The Prince of Pleasure", "The Edwardians" and "Victoria's Heyday". Over all, he published more than 100 books - non-fiction, fiction and drama, as well as countless newspaper articles and reviews. He was married three times and had four daughters and one son.
He was a lifelong socialist of the old kind, yet never joined the Labour Party. He was a spokesman for the ordinary people, unashamedly middlebrow, patriotic and honest, and opposed to the class system, He turned down offers of a knighthood and a peerage, but gladly accepted the Order of Merit in 1977. He died in 1984.
Stephen Daldry – Director
Stephen started his career at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre and directed extensively in Britain’s regional theatres. In London he was Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre where he headed the £26million redevelopment. He has also directed at the National Theatre, the Public Theatre in New York and transferred many productions both to Broadway and the West End including on several occasions his 1992 production of An Inspector Calls. He has directed for BBC Radio and Television. His production of Billy Elliot the Musical is currently playing in London and Holland having previously played on Broadway, in Seoul, Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Toronto and across the US. In 2009, the production won ten Tony awards including Best Musical, more than any other British show in Broadway history. The first UK and Ireland tour of Billy Elliot the Musical starts in February 2016. His first four films Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close together received 19 Academy Award® nominations and two wins. His most recent film, Trash, set in the favellas of Rio de Janeiro was nominated for the 2015 BAFTAs. His highly acclaimed, award-winning London productions of The Audience and Skylight have recently finished Tony-winning, sell-out runs on Broadway. Stephen is directing the new Netflix series The Crown written by Peter Morgan. He is Director of the Pier 55 Performance Park in New York and was Creative Executive Producer of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Ian MacNeil - Designer
Ian MacNeil's work includes Billy Elliot The Musical in the West End (also in Australia on Broadway and US tours; Tony Award winner Best Designer); Albert Speer, Machinal (Critic's Circle Award-winner) and An Inspector Calls (also West End and International; Olivier and Critic's Circle Awards-winner) at the National; Far Away, Via Dolorosa (also on Broadway and the West End), This is a Chair, Death and the Maiden (also West End), Plasticine (Evening Standard Award-winner Best Designer) and A Number for the Royal Court; Afore Night Come at the Young Vic; The Ingolstadt Plays, Figaro Gets Divorced and Jerker at the Gate; Enter Achilles and Bound to Please for DV8; and Festen at the Almeida (also West End and Broadway; Evening Standard Award- winner, Best Designer). Recent designs include Vernon God Little and A Doll's House at the Young Vic and Brooklyn Academy of Music; In Basildon at the Royal Court; Desire Under the Elms at the Lyric Hammersmith; The Amen Corner at the National Theatre; Betrayal on Broadway; Birdland at the Royal Court, and Everyman at the National.
Rick Fisher - Lighting Designer
Born in Philadelphia, Rick Fisher has lived in the UK for many years. He first lit this production of An Inspector Calls in York in 1990 and then again at the National Theatre in 1992. He is the winner of two Olivier Awards for Best Lighting Design and two Tony and Drama Desk Awards for An Inspector Calls and Billy Elliot (Broadway). Theatre includes: Peter Pan (Regent’s Park); The Audience (with Helen Mirren in London and Broadway, and subsequently with Kristin Scott Thomas in London; The Merchant of Venice (Almeida Theatre / RSC); Sunny Afternoon (Hampstead / West End); Porgy and Bess (Regent’s Park); Billy Elliot (West End / Australia / Broadway / US Tour / Holland); Brigit & Bailegangaire (Druid Theatre, Galway); The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Twelfth Night (Singapore); Judas Kiss (Duke of York’s); Chariots of Fire (Gielgud), Richard III (RSC); Tribes (Royal Court); An Inspector Calls (West End/Broadway); Betrayal, Old Times (Donmar); Jerry Springer the Opera, Blue/Orange (National Theatre/West End). Musical and opera includes: Daughter of the Regiment, Rigoletto, Salome (Santa Fe Opera); Sweeney Todd (Houston Grand Opera); Oscar (Philadelphia); Falstaff (Japan & Los Angeles); The King and I, Sweeney Todd (Chatelet, Paris); The Sound of Music (Buenos Aires); The Tsarina’s Slippers (Royal Opera House); Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail , Maometto II (Garsington); La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (Santa Fe). Dance includes: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (London / Los Angeles / Broadway / World Tour).
Stephen Warbeck - Music
Born in Southampton in 1953, Stephen began studying piano and composing at the age of four. After eight years of working as a composer and performer for the stage Stephen began writing music for film and television and has since built up a considerable filmography. He has written music for more than 40 television projects and has received five BAFTA nominations and in 2013 a BAFTA Award for his work on Henry IV, parts 1 & 2. Other recent television projects include Indian Summers and first two series of A Young Doctor’s Notebook. Stephen has scored many feature films including: Mon Roi, Seve, Polisse, Proof, Mrs Brown, Mystery Men, Quills, Billy Elliott, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Birthday Girl and Shakespeare in Love, for which he won an Academy Award. His other notable stage productions include: the Globe’s Richard II, the Donmar’s Temple, the RSC’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies; the Royal Court’s The River and Jerusalem (both West End and Broadway transfers) and The Seagull; The National Theatre’s The Red Lion, The Silver Tassie, This House, The Veil; John Madden’s Proof, Sam Mendes’ To The Green Fields Beyond; Old Times and Betrayal at the Harold Pinter Theatre and many productions for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, The Almeida and West End theatres. In addition to composing for film and television, Stephen has written music for numerous radio plays and is a founder member of the anarchic pub band The Kippers for whom he composes and performs. He has his own ensemble who recently performed a selection of his film music at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Stephen has written several concert pieces, Peter Pan is his first ballet score.
Julian Webber - Associate Director
Julian adapted and directed The Three Musketeers at the Young Vic Theatre, which was nominated for a Barclay’s Theatre Award in 2002; more recently, the West-End revival of The Shape of Things by Neil Labute, and The Barber of Seville at the Bristol Old Vic in a new adaptation by Lee Hall. For eight years Julian was Artistic Director of Soho Rep, New York and is currently Associate Director for Billy Elliot the Musical, for which he won a Helpmann Award for the production in Sydney, Australia, and last year, mounted in Holland.