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 and 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’s co-production, with director Justin Martin, of The Jungle by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson recently played to huge acclaim at the Playhouse Theatre after its highly successful run at the Young Vic Theatre. In December 2018 it had its American premiere at St Ann’s Warehouse in New York. Prior to this Stephen directed The Inheritance by Matthew Lopez, a play in two parts, to critical acclaim and a sell out run at the Young Vic Theatre before transfering to the Noel Coward Theatre during the autumn of 2018 and in advance of a premiere on Broadway in 2019.
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 his award-winning 1992 National Theatre production of An Inspector Calls. Billy Elliot the Musical opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005 where it ran for 11 years. It has also played on Broadway, in Holland, Seoul, Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Toronto, Tokyo and across the US. In 2009, the production won ten Tony awards, including Best Musical, more than any other British show in Broadway history. It recently completed an 18 month tour of the UK and Ireland, finishing its highly successful run in Hamburg. Stephen directed The Audience and Skylight to critical acclaim both in London and on Broadway with Skylight winning a Tony award for Best Revival.
Stephen’s 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 film, Trash, set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, was nominated for Best Film Not In The English Language at the 2015 BAFTAs. Stephen has previously directed for BBC Radio and Television. He is Executive Producer and Director on the highly acclaimed Netflix series The Crown by Peter Morgan, which won Best Drama Series at the Golden Globes. He is Co-Director of Pier 55 in New York and also on the Board of The Perelman Arts Center at the World Trade Center, Ground Zero, New York. Stephen was Creative Executive Producer of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the London 2012 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).
Recent theatre includes: Consent (National Theatre and West End); Mood Music (Old Vic); Peter Pan (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); Mata Hari (Tokyo); The Woman In White (Charing Cross Theatre); Cell Mates (Hampstead); Man to Man (national tour, New York); Rent (St. James Theatre, national tour).
Also: Billy Elliot the Musical (Australia, Japan, Tokyo, West End, UK tours, Holland, Broadway, US tour); Sunny Afternoon (Hampstead, West End, national tour); The Audience (West End, Broadway); The King and I (Paris, Chicago); Sweeney Todd (Paris, San Francisco, Houston); Judas Kiss (West End, Toronto, New York); Chariots Of Fire (Hampstead, West End);
Previous theatre includes: The Merchant of Venice (Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford); The Sound of Music (Buenos Aires); Tiger Country (Hampstead); Tribes (Royal Court); Rope (Almeida Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing (Singapore); Family Reunion, Betrayal, The Philanthropist, Old Times (Donmar Warehouse); Landscape With Weapon (National Theatre); Jerry Springer the Opera, Blue/Orange (National Theatre/West End); Far Away (New York); A Number (Royal Court).
Current and recent opera productions include: Don Carlo (Los Angeles); Madam Butterfly (Santa Fe); Falstaff (Dallas); The Monteverdi Trilogy ( UK, US, Europe); The Last Savage, Wozzek, La bohème (Santa Fe Opera); Turandot (ENO); Tsarina’s Slippers (Royal Opera House); Peter Grimes (Washington/Oslo); Betrothal in a Monastery (Glyndebourne/Valencia); Madam Butterfly, Albert Herring, Billy Budd, Radamisto, Daphne, Tea, Peter Grimes (Santa Fe); The Fiery Angel, Turandot (Bolshoi); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (La Fenice); Wozzek (Royal Opera House); Gloriana, La bohème (Opera North); The Little Prince (Houston/New York/San Francisco).
Dance includes: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (London/Los Angeles/Broadway/World Tour).
Stephen Warbeck - Music
Stephen Warbeck has written extensively for theatre, including scores for: Translations, Common, The Plough and the Stars, Evening at the Talk House, The Red Lion, The Silver Tassie, This House, The Veil, Season’s Greetings, Welcome to Thebes, The Power of Yes, Mrs Affleck, The Hothouse, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Day I Stood Still, An Inspector Calls, Machinal, Roots, The Magic Olympical Games and At Our Table for the National Theatre; Junkyard for Headlong Productions at Bristol Old Vic, Theatr Clwyd and Rose Theatre Kingston. Temple, Proof and To the Green Fields Beyond at the Donmar; Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at the RSC, in the West End and on Broadway; Alice in Wonderland, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, The White Devil, The Taming of the Shrew, The Cherry Orchard and Cymbeline for the RSC; The River and Jerusalem at the Royal Court, in the West End and on Broadway; Haunted Child, The Winterling, Alice Trilogy, Boy Gets Girl, The Night Heron, Mouth to Mouth, Dublin Carol, The Lights, Harry and Me, Pale Horse, Rat in the Skull, Mojo, Simpatico, The Editing Process, The Kitchen, Blood, Greenland, Bloody Poetry and Built on Sand at the Royal Court; Measure for Measure, When the Rain Stops Falling, Parlour Song, Cloud Nine and Dying for It at the Almeida; The Winter’s Tale,The Tempest, Richard II, Much Ado About Nothing, A New World, As You Like It, Othello and Pericles at Shakespeare’s Globe; The Birthday Party, Old Times, Uncle Vanya, Betrayal, Death and the Maiden, The Children’s Hour, Swimming with Sharks and In Celebration in the West End; Bingo at Chichester and the Young Vic; Jean la Chance at Théâtre des Treize Vents; as well as music for many other plays.
He has written a ballet score, Peter Pan, for Northern Ballet.
Film scores include: Float Like a Butterfly, The Children Act, Making Noise Quietly,The Time Of Their Lives, Hampstead, India In a Day, The Journey, Le Secret des Banquises, Mon Roi, Seve, Yellow Bird, Keeping Rosy, Jadoo, La Marche, Polisse, There Be Dragons, Killing Bono, Un Balcon sur la Mer, Skellig, Princess Ka’iulani, The Other Man, Freakdog, Machan, French Film, The Hessen Affair, The Box Collector, Miguel & William, Flawless, Cargo, Travaux, Proof, Oyster Farmer, On a Clear Day, Pour le Plaisir, Two Brothers, The Alzheimer Case, Love’s Brother, Mystics, Secret Passage, Deseo, Charlotte Gray, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Birthday Girl, Gabriel and Me, Billy Elliot, Quills, Very Annie Mary, Mystery Men, Fanny and Elvis, Shakespeare in Love (winning an Academy Award), Mrs Brown, My Son the Fanatic, O Mary This London and Sister My Sister.
TV scores include: King Lear, The Dresser, Fungus the Bogeyman, Indian Summers series 1 and 2, Henry IV parts 1 and 2 (Hollow Crown season, for which he won a BAFTA), A Young Doctor’s Notebook series 1 and 2, Just William and Fallout.
He also writes music for his band The Kippers.
Julian Webber - Associate Director
For eight years Julian was Artistic Director of Soho Rep, New York where he produced and directed new plays by such playwrights as Mac Wellman, Len Jenkin, Sherry Kramer, Eric Overmeyer, Joyce Carol Oates and David Lindsey Abaire. He was Associate Director for Billy Elliot the Musical, for which he won a Helpmann Award for the production in Sydney, Australia, as well as mounting productions in Chicago, Toronto, Holland and the latest UK tour. Julian adapted and directed The Three Musketeers at the Young Vic Theatre, which was nominated for a Barclay’s Theatre Award; 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.