John Godber

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John Godber
BornJohn Harry Godber
(1956-05-18) 18 May 1956 (age 63)
Upton, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
OccupationPlaywright, screenwriter, Creative Director of Theatre Royal Wakefield
SpouseJane Thornton aka Jane Clifford, Jane Godber

John Harry Godber OBE (born 18 May 1956) is an English dramatist, known mainly for his observational comedies. In the Plays and Players Yearbook for 1993 he was reckoned to be 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.


Godber was born in Upton, near Pontefract, West Riding of Yorkshire.[1] He trained as a teacher of drama at Bretton Hall College,[1] affiliated to the University of Leeds, and became artistic director of Hull Truck Theatre Company in 1984.[2]

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.[3] While he was 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 (1977) 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.

Godber's 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 his 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.

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

Godber's name has been given to the John Godber Centre in Hucknall. The theatre facility at New College Pontefract, a college near his birthplace, is also named the John Godber Theatre. It opened in 2012.


  • A Clockwork Orange (1976, adaptation)
  • Bouncers (1977)
  • Toys of Age (1979)
  • Cramp (1982)
  • 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)
  • Scary Bikers (2018)



  1. ^ a b "John Godber comes home". Pontefract & Castleford Express. 25 March 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  2. ^ "John Godber – Real life dramas". Where I Live Humber – People and Places. BBC. 9 June 2005. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  3. ^ Mitchinson, James, ed. (1 August 2018). "John Godber". The Yorkshire Post. Inspiring Yorkshire. p. 24. ISSN 0963-1496.

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