Papers of John Godber (1956-present)


Who is John Godber? U DJG Image 1

Born 18 May 1956 in Upton, West Yorkshire, John Harry Godber, is an English Dramatist and the son of a Yorkshire miner. He attended Minsthorpe High School, South Elmsall, and went on to undertake teacher training at Bretton Hall College, West Bretton, both institutions being in West Yorkshire. He is married to writer and actress Jane Thornton (aka Jane Clifford and Jane Godber), they have two children together and have co-written a number of plays.

After qualifying as a teacher, Godber remained in West Yorkshire and went on to become Head of Drama at Minsthorpe High School. He was subsequently appointed Professor of Drama at the University of Hull. In addition to his teaching posts, he was appointed Artistic Director of Hull Truck Theatre Company from 1984. He later became Creative Director of the same before leaving in 2010 having helped the theatre through financially difficult times. He was also associated with the theatre during its move from Spring Street to Ferensway in Hull. Following his departure from Hull Truck, Godber returned to his association with West Yorkshire as Creative Director of Theatre Royal Wakefield. Here, he established The John Godber Company as the theatre's resident company.

Best known as a playwright, Godber has also wrote quite extensively for television, including being involved with the series Grange Hill and Brookside. Some of his best known works include the plays Bouncers, originally produced in 1977 and remade several times, Shakers, On the Piste and April in Paris. In 2005 he won two BAFTAs for a children’s television production titled Odd Squad, which was written and filmed in Hull. In the 1993 Plays and Players Yearbook he was calculated to be the third most performed playwright in the UK behind William Shakespeare and Alan Ayckbourn. A bibliography of Godber’s works is appended below.

What do the papers contain?

The papers contain the following: notebooks, 1991-2006 [U DJG/1]; scripts, 1970s-2006 [U DJG/2]; accounts, 1990s [U DJG/3]; contracts & agreements, 1990s [U DJG/4]; correspondence, 1987-2004 [U DJG/5]; production records, 1990s-2000s [U DJG/6]; reviews and Interviews, 1970s-2000s [U DJG/7]; publicity Material, 1980-2001 [U DJG/8]; programmes, 1980-2006 [U DJG/9]; photographs, 1980s-1990s [U DJG/10]; videos, 1983-2004 [U DJG/11]; papers of Jane Thornton, 1980s-1990s [U DJG/12]; miscellaneous material, 1982-2005 [U DJG/13].

What can the collection be used to research?

This collection is a fantastic resource for anyone researching theatre and drama during the late 20th century. The papers would lend themselves well to a research project focused on John Godber himself, playwrights and dramatists working in Hull, work staged at Hull Truck, and the creative process of turning a script into a stage production.

Are there any access restrictions?

The majority of material in this collection is available for access by any accredited reader at Hull History Centre. A small number of items may be closed under the Data Protection Act 1998. Where this is the case a note can be found in the catalogue of the collection.

Is there any related material?

Hull History Centre holds a substantial collection of material relating to theatre and drama which, when used alongside the papers of John Godber, would aid research into these areas. Such material includes the following: Theatre Playbills Collection; Hull Theatre Programmes (U DX304); Programmes of productions held at the Little Theatre, Hull (C DIDU); Theatre Programmes and Souvenir booklets (C DIDA); York Theatre Royal accounts (U DP208); Anthony Minghella - theatre papers (U DTM); Scripts by Anthony Minghella (U DX364); Alan Plater (U DPR); Hull Truck Theatre Subject Files (U DMC/834, U DMC/1186).