When we are Married 

by J. B. Priestley

directed by Ken Spencer

Presented at the

Nuffield Theatre, Southampton


Tuesday 24th to Saturday 28th January 2006

The show played to consistently good audiences throughout the week and was enjoyed by all who saw it.

J. B. Priestley - The Playwright

J. B. Priestley was born on September 13th 1894 in Bradford. His mother died when he was two and he was in turn cared for by his grandmother and stepmother. His father was a schoolteacher who encouraged his son to enter the wool business when he was a teenager. In 1914, he enlisted in the army; after the war, Priestley attended Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and started writing for the Cambridge Review. During the twenties, Priestley struggled to make his name as a writer. He wrote articles for numerous publications, including The Times Literary Supplement, as well as books of criticism and novels. Yet it was not until The Good Companion was published in 1929 that he became a well known literary figure. It was to be both a blessing and a curse. The book's success provided him with financial security. However, this multi-faceted tale of Yorkshire life was to cement his reputation with the critics as a sentimental populist, not a serious artist. His first original play was Dangerous Corner (1932) which only survived after five performances when Priestley intervened financially. Among his many plays, his other best known works are Time and the Conways (1937) When We are Married (1938) and An Inspector Calls (1947).

J.B.Priestley - On Playing a Photographer

"Once I had to do some acting of a sort in the West End, for about ten performances. This was not a publicity stunt but an attempt to save a farcical comedy, When We are Married, that had just opened. Frank Pettingell, who played the comic lead, a drunken West Riding photographer, was injured in a motor accident; so Basil Dean, a man not easily denied, rushed me on as a drunken photographer, at least a part not beyond my physical and mental range. I cannot say if I was a good or bad actor, but I certaily knew my own lines, never fluffed or dried, and duly got my laughs... Probably because I was not really an actor, I found it all curiously elusive, frustrating, unrewarding. And to paint one's face after an early lunch, all for the benefit of matinee audiences waiting for the tea they had ordered, was horrible."

The Cast
Ruby Birtle Jo Iacovou
Gerald Forbes Matt Avery
Nancy Holmes Rachael Courage
Mrs Northrop Moyra Allen
Fred Dyson Jez Minns
Joseph Helliwell Philip de Grouchy
Maria Helliwell Maria Head
Albert Parker Albie Minns
Herbert Soppitt Guy Boney
Clara Soppitt Hazel Burrows
Annie Parker Jenni Watson
Henry Ormonroyd John Souter
Lottie Grady Angie Stansbridge
Reverend Mercer David Collis
The Mayor David Pike
Production Team
Director Ken Spencer
Production Manager Graham Buchanan
Costumes Serena Brown
Lighting Ivan White
Sound Geoff Grandy, Lawrie Gee, Kathryn Salmon, Chris Hann,  Jamie McCarthy
Stage Manager Emily Stacey
Assistant Stage Managers Jess Rice, Steve Clark
Publicity and Marketing Angela Stansbridge
Poster Design John Hamon
Marketing Assistants Sarah Rouch, Sarah Russell, Graham Buchanan, Betty & John Riggs
Properties Ella Lockett, Gill Buchanan
Set Design Ken Spencer
Set Construction Roger Lockett, Paul Lewis and students of Southampton City College, Btec Technical Theatre Course
Pianoforte Ruth Cox
Photography Clive Weeks


click on a photo to enlarge it


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Off Emsworth Road
SO15 3LX

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Established 1968

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