Papers of John Godber


John Godber was born on 18 May 1956 in Upton, West Yorkshire, the son of a miner and an English dramatist. He attended Minsthorpe High School, South Elmsall, and went on to undertake teacher training at Bretton Hall College, West Bretton. He is married to writer and actress Jane Thornton (aka Jane Clifford and Jane Godber) with whom he has two children.

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 became Creative Director of Theatre Royal Wakefield, and established The John Godber Company. 

As a screenwriter, he has written for the TV series Grange Hill, Brookside, The Ritz, My Kingdom for a Horse, Chalkface, and Bloomin' Marvellous. His other works for TV include Toys of Age, The Rainbow Coloured Disco Dancer, Crown Court, Shakers, Up 'n' Under, Bouncers!, and Thunder Road. However, Godber is perhaps better known as a playwright and his credits include Bouncers, On the Piste, Shakers Re-stirred, Bouncers - 1990s Remix, The Office Party, Passion Killers, Reunion, Our House, Funny Turns, The Debt Collectors and Losing the Plot. He has also co-written a number of plays with his wife, Jane Thornton, including Shakers, The Sculptor's Surprise and Lost and Found. In addition, he has written a number of adaptations including A Clockwork Orange, A Christmas Carol, Moby Dick, Dracula, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and A Kind of Loving.

Throughout his career, Godber has been the recipient of various literary honours. He has won five Edinburgh Fringe Festival awards including the 1984 Laurence Olivier Comedy of the Year award for Up 'n' Under. He has won two BAFTAs for Odd Squad, written and directed on location in Hull and screened by BBC children's TV. 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.

What can the collection be used for?

The collection can be used to study the creative art of writing for a range of mediums including stage and television. 

What records will I find in the collection?

The collection (ref U DJG) contains notebooks, scripts, accounts, contracts and agreements, correspondence, production records, reviews and interviews, publicity material, programmes, photographs, audio-visual material, papers of Jane Thornton, and various miscellaneous records. The majority of the papers consist of a series of writer's and director's notebooks from 1991, and a series of scripts covering the period 1970s-2006. 

The collection is arranged as follows:
U DJG/1 Notebooks, 1991-2006
U DJG/2 Scripts, 1970s-2006
U DJG/3 Accounts, 1990s
U DJG/4 Contracts & Agreements, 1990s
U DJG/5 Correspondence, 1987-2004
U DJG/6 Production, 1990s-2000s
U DJG/7 Reviews and Interviews, 1970s-2000s
U DJG/8 Publicity Material, 1980-2001
U DJG/9 Programmes, 1980-2006
U DJG/10 Photographs, 1980s-1990s
U DJG/11 Videos, 1983-2004
U DJG/12 Jane Thornton, 1980s-1990s
U DJG/13 Miscellaneous, 1982-2005

How do I access the Collection?

The collection is available for anyone to use. Due to the personal and sensitive nature of some of the material certain closures have been placed on parts of this collection, and these are clearly identified in the catalogue.

Access conditions

Access to unrestricted material will be granted to any accredited reader. However, access to some of the material in this collection is restricted under the terms of data protection legislation.

For any enquiries relating to research access, please contact the University Archives team.