Follow Us on Twitter

Happy Jack - Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FIRST Knight Theatre is presenting Happy Jack, by John Godber, at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre – from Tuesday, May 14 to Saturday, May 25, 2019.

…Liz’s favourite and lasting expression was ‘Happy Jack’. She felt pleased at awarding him this title. He was always miserable or, more to the point, appeared to be so.

Happy Jack is described as a funny and touching play about the lives of Jack and Liz. Set in a West Yorkshire mining village, the play is inspired by John Godber’s own grandparents and follows the couple’s 40 year marriage through good times and bad.

The play weaves through the story of this ordinary working class family and retells snippets of their lives together, the love, sadness, anger, joy and conflict.

Balancing humour with some tougher realities, Happy Jack highlights the lives of working miners and the terrible legacies that many of them were left with long after leaving the pits.

Happy Jack is performed by Jonny Magnanti as Jack and Tracey Ann Wood as Liz.

John Godber was born in Upton, the West Yorkshire mining village in which this play is set. Happy Jack recounts the story of his grandparents’ lives. In the Plays and Players Yearbook for 1993, Godber was described as the world’s third most performed English playwright (after Shakespeare and Alan Ayckbourn). His most well-known play, Bouncers, is in constant production somewhere in the world.

His more than 50 other plays include Shakers, Up ‘n Under, On the Piste and Perfect Pitch. Until 2010, he was the artistic director of Hull Truck Theatre Co. Since 2011, he has been at the Theatre Royal in Wakefield from where he runs his own production company. His most recent work, Scary Bikers featuring Godber and his wife Jane Thornton, is playing at The Trafalgar Studios from April 3 to April 27, 2019.

First Knight Theatre is a new production company created by Dan and Pauline Armour. The Armours’ previous productions at the Jack Studio include: Radiant Vermin, The Night Alive, A Doll’s House, Clybourne Park, The Pitmen Painters and Handbagged.

Happy Jack is directed and designed by Dan Armour, with costume design by Pauline Armour, lighting design by Amelia Herridge-Ishak and sound and visual effects by Dave Jones.

Happy Jack is suitable for ages 14+.

Tickets: £16, £13 concessions. To book, call the box office on 0333 666 3366 (£1.50 fee for phone bookings only) or visit

Time: 7.30pm (no performances on Sundays and Mondays).

Also at the Jack Studio Theatre: the European professional premier of Michael John LaChiusa’s Queen of the Mist (April 9 to April 27) and The Astonishing Singing Fish! by Tice Oakfield (April 30 to May 4, 2019).