John Godber

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John Godber
Born John Harry Godber
(1956-05-18) 18 May 1956 (age 60)
Upton, West Yorkshire, England
Occupation Playwright, screenwriter, Creative Director of Theatre Royal Wakefield
Nationality British
Spouse Jane Thornton aka Jane Clifford, Jane Godber

John Harry Godber (born 18 May 1956) is an English dramatist, known mainly for his observational comedies. In the Plays and Players Yearbook for 1993 he was calculated as the third most performed playwright in the UK behind William Shakespeare and Alan Ayckbourn. Godber has been creative director of the Theatre Royal Wakefield since 2011. He has a wife and two children.


Godber was born in Upton, West Yorkshire, near Pontefract. He trained as a teacher of drama at Bretton Hall College, affiliated to the University of Leeds, and became artistic director of Hull Truck Theatre Company in 1984. Before venturing into plays, he was head of drama at Minsthorpe High School, the school that he had attended as a student, and later wrote for the TV series Brookside and Grange Hill. Whilst at Minsthorpe he taught future actors Adrian Hood (Preston Front, Up n Under film) and Chris Walker (Doctors, Coronation Street). A 1993 survey for 'Plays and Players' magazine cited Godber as the third most performed playwright in the UK, after Shakespeare and Alan Ayckbourn. In 2005 he won two BAFTAs for 'Odd Squad', written and directed on location in Hull and screened by BBC children's television. His plays are performed across the world; Bouncers being the most popular.

In 2004 he became a visiting professor of Popular Theatre at Liverpool Hope University. He has also been professor of drama at Hull University. In 2011 John Godber became creative director at Theatre Royal Wakefield and set up The John Godber Company as its resident company.

His earlier style utilises an interest in German Expressionism, an economic and physical style inspired by this and the inspiration of Bretton Hall Head of School (Drama) John Hodgson. His later and more naturalistic style reflects Godber's growth as a member of the middle classes and an Ayckbournesque world of drama. He says that the "new Godber" is perhaps a writer like Tim Firth.

He is married to the writer and actress Jane Thornton, also known as Jane Clifford and Jane Godber.


  • A Clockwork Orange (1976, adaptation)
  • Bouncers (1977)
  • Toys of Age (1979)
  • Cramp (1981)
  • Cry Wolf (1981) First professional production.
  • Guyonal Priority Area) (1982)
  • Happy Jack (1982)
  • September in the Rain (1983)
  • Young Hearts Run Free (1983)
  • Bouncers (for Yorkshire actors) (1983)
  • Up 'n' Under (1984)
  • A Christmas Carol (1984, adaptation)
  • Shakers (1985) (co-written with Jane Thornton)
  • Up 'n' Under II (1985)
  • Blood, Sweat and Tears (1986)
  • Cramp – the Musical (1986)
  • Teechers (1987)
  • Oliver Twist (1987, adaptation)
  • Salt of the Earth (1988)
  • On the Piste (1990)
  • Everyday Heroes (1990)
  • Shakers Re-stirred (1991)
  • Bouncers – 1990s Remix (1991)
  • Happy Families (1991)
  • April in Paris (1992)
  • The Office Party (1992)
  • Passion Killers (1994)
  • Dracula (1995, adaptation)
  • Lucky Sods (1995)
  • Shakers the Musical (1996)
  • Gym and Tonic (1996)
  • Weekend Breaks (1997)
  • It Started with a Kiss (1997)
  • Hooray for Hollywood (1998)
  • The Weed (1998)
  • Perfect Pitch (1998)
  • Ella Chapman (1998)
  • Thick as a Brick (1999)
  • Big Trouble in the Little Bedroom (1999)
  • Seasons in the Sun (2000)
  • On a Night Like This (2000)
  • Our House (2001)
  • Departures (2001)
  • Moby Dick (2002, adaptation)
  • Young Hearts (2002)
  • Men of the World (2002)
  • Reunion (2002)
  • The Crown Prince (2007)
  • Next Best Thing (2007)
  • Sold (2007)
  • Our House (2008)
  • Funny Turns (2009)
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (2010, adaptation)
  • The Debt Collectors (2011)
  • The Sculptor's Surprise (2011) (Schools tour, co-written with Jane Thornton)
  • Lost and Found (2012) (co-written with Jane Thornton)
  • Losing The Plot (2013)
  • A Kind of Loving (2013, adaptation)
  • Shafted (2015)



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