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John Godber On ... Running theatres & writing plays

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Do you see Weekend Breaks as part of a sequence of comedies about Northern working-class people?
It was written 15 years ago, so it’s not a new departure.

Are there any special personal elements which you have incorporated in this play?

You have to draw on your own life, but it’s not autobiographical.

Of all the plays which you have written, which ones are you particularly fond of, and why?

My biggest achievement is the body of work that contributed to saving a theatre company from bankruptcy and delivering a £15million theatre, without which it never would have happened.

Has leaving Hull Truck and founding your own production company changed the way you write – themes, cast sizes and so on – at all?
No, I don’t think so. It has just refocused my output. I don’t have to be distracted by the minutia of running a building

You've adapted the Horrid Henry books for the stage. Do you prefer writing original plays or enjoy working on adaptations equally?
Equally, I like making theatre. Sometimes it’s square, sometimes round. It’s the creative process that I enjoy.

Do you prefer writing for adult or for younger audiences? and why?

I prefer writing for adults probably because I’ve spend more of my life as an adult than as a child so I have more to draw on, more life experience. I also like gritty, touchy subjects and you can do that better when you are writing for adults.

What other projects are you currently working on? and with which companies?

I’m writing a play for a co-production between my company, The John Godber Company, the Theatre Royal Wakefield and the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. The play is called Found and it will premiere at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in June. It marries up with a play called Lost by my wife Jane Thornton.

(Weekend Breaks opens on 14 February at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge as part of a national tour)

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