John was born the son of a miner in Upton, West Yorkshire in 1956. He trained as a teacher of drama at Bretton Hall College, Wakefield. Whilst he was Head of Drama at Minsthorpe High School, the school he attended as a student, he won every major award at the National Student Drama Festival between 1981 and 1983.
John has a B.Ed (Hons) from Bretton Hall College,an MA from Leeds University, an Hon DLitt from Hull University, Lincoln University, York St John’s University, and a D Univ from the Open University, he is Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Liverpool Hope University, visiting Professor at Sheffield Hallam and Hull, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is a Teaching Fellow at Liverpool John Moore’s University, the Institute of the Arts, Barcelona and Regents University London. He was also a doctoral research student at Leeds University for five years.
John's plays are performed across the world and he has the distinction of being one of the most performed writers in the English language. He has won numerous awards for his plays including a Laurence Olivier Award, eight Joseph Jefferson Awards Chicago, six Edinburgh Fringe Firsts and seven Los Angeles Critics' Circle Awards.
His plays include Bouncers, Up 'n' Under, Teechers, Blood Sweat and Tears, Happy Jack, September in the Rain, Salt of the Earth, Passion Killers, Happy Families, Gym & Tonic, Lucky Sods, Unleashed, Thick as a Brick, Men of the World, Perfect Pitch, Funny Turns, Shafted, This is Not Right and Scary Bikers. He is also responsible for the stage version of the Horrid Henry children's books. John co-wrote the highly successful Shakers with Jane Thornton, as well as a version of Dracula. His most recent play, Scary Bikers! received rave reviews on the West End in 2019 at the Trafalgar Studios.
Johns work for television includes episodes of Grange Hill, Brookside, Crown Court, and Bloomin' Marvellous, as well as The Ritz and the BBC series, Chalkface; he is also co-writer and director of the double BAFTA-award-winning children's film, Oddsquad; and wrote both Thunder Road and My Kingdom for a Horse (BBC) starring Sean Bean. He directed his first feature film, Up 'n' Under adapted from his own play which was released in 1998.
John ran Hull Truck Theatre Company for twenty six years taking it from bankruptcy in 1984 to a £15 million new theatre in 2010, which he helped design and build. He established The John Godber Company in 2011 which currently tour two plays a year, so far they have played to more than 250.000 people. He was awarded an O.B.E for his contribution to the arts in 2018.
Richard trained as a drama teacher and taught drama for two years before co-founding Compass Theatre Company in 1981 for which he directed 5 shows.
For Fiery Light he has written and directed: Fimbles Live!, LazyTown Live!, LazyTown and the Pirate Advernture, Peppa Pig's Party, Peppa Pig's Treasure Hunt, Peppa Pig's Big Splash, Peppa Pig's Adventure, Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure and Teletubbies Live, all of which have toured nationally and the Peppa shows have broken box office records at the Criterion Theatre in the West End.
Other credits include national tours of
Up 'n' Under by John Godber (also West End & an Australian tour), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Are You Lonesome Tonight? by Alan Bleasdale. The Business of Murder by Richard Harris, Little Shop of Horrors by Howard Ashman & Alan Menken; Bouncers by John Godber (also West End); Smokey Joe's Cafe by Jerry Zachs, from the music of Leiber & Stoller; Outside Edge by Richard Harris. Richard also devised and has directed SINGA LONGA SOUND OF MUSIC, SINGA LONGA ELVIS & SINGA LONGA ABBA.
Regional theatre: GAME RAVE New Victoria Theatre, Woking; THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI Liverpool Playhouse; THE OFFICE PARTY Watford Playhouse;
AN EVENING WITH GARY LINEKER Windsor Theatre Royal; A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Hull Truck; UP N’ UNDER York Theatre Royal; THE MAINTENANCE MAN Churchill Theatre, Bromley; TEECHERS, by John Godber & THE MAINTENANCE MAN by Richard Harris Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch.
In Europe: GREEK by Franz Kafka; ORPHANS, by Lyle Kessler; BOUNCERS by John Godber at the Theatre De Poche, Brussels. BOUNCERS National Theatre De Colliene, Paris.
Richard is Managing Director of The Limelight Group.