Playwright John Godber offers support and advice to Rotherham rep Theatre group ahead of Autumn show

AN AMATEUR theatre group preparing for their autumn show were given a word or two of advice from the much-loved writer of their show when he dropped by to offer his support.
John Godber (centre) with the cast of Shafted, Richard Wilshaw and Polly Lovegrove.John Godber (centre) with the cast of Shafted, Richard Wilshaw and Polly Lovegrove.
John Godber (centre) with the cast of Shafted, Richard Wilshaw and Polly Lovegrove.

Rotherham Rep are staging John Godber’s Shafted at Rotherham Civic Theatre from September 19 to 22.

Former miner Godber, who drew on his own memories of the Miners’ Strike when penning the play about a couple from a devastated pit town, was a special guest at a Rep rehearsal on Sunday.

Rep publicity officer Sheila Halse said the cast and crew had been delighted to meet the threatre legend, who founded the Hull Truck Theatre and is known for a series of gritty shows such as Bouncers and Teechers.

“What a wonderful person - he offered all his knowledge and was so willing to give us any help he could,” said

“Although it was only for a short period of time, the whole company felt they learnt so much from meeting him, getting his thoughts and input on the production.”

“He gave some fascinating acting tips and advice regarding the play itself as well as sharing stories about his career, his life experiences, his inspiration for certain plays and advice regarding theatre matters in general.

“It was a brilliant afternoon and such a positive experience for the members of The Rotherham Rep.”

“As John said himself, if you have connections to the mining strikes, the closures and the aftermath then you will ‘get the play’ as it’s incredibly relatable to our local communities.”

Later in the season, the Rep will bring festival classic A Christmas Carol to the stage from November 14 to 18.

More than half the available seats have been sold, prompting the company to add a Saturday matinee to the run.

Looking further ahead, Allo Allo will bring a helping of chaotic comedy to the Civic next March, while the Rep’s summer show will be Steel Magnolias, which chronicles the extraordinary friendship of six remarkable women who are there for each other through life's triumphs and tragedies.

Tickets for all the productions are £9 with concessions at £7.

They are available from the Civic box office on 01709 823823 or online at