A bitter-sweet tale of steel heritage

Playwrite John Godber.
Playwrite John Godber.

Award-winning playwright John Godber has written a new play to be performed at the Crucible Theatre mark the celebration of the centenary of stainless steel.

It will be performed at the Crucible Theatre in July in a collaboration between Sheffield Theatres and Sheffield Hallam University where he is a visiting lecturer.

Jack Steele and Family is a funny and moving story about a former steelworker whose heart belongs to Sheffield’s industrial heritage, but whose family have moved on.

The play will be directed by Neil Sissons, who spent 25 years as artistic director of Compass Theatre Company and is now a senior lecturer in performance at Sheffield Hallam. And the University’s students will take on some supporting roles behind the scenes with performance students having small roles in the play alongside professional actors in the main parts.

The play tells the story of elderly Jack and those closest to him as they prepare for a big family celebration. Jack is in turmoil - torn between his yearning for a return to the past and the industrial heritage that defines him as a person, and his family’s march into an unknown future.

John Godber’s plays include Bouncers, Up ‘n’ Under (which he made into a film in 1998), Teechers and Happy Families. They are performed across the world and he has won numerous awards for his writing, including a Lawrence Olivier award and seven Los Angeles Critics Circle Awards. Neil Sissons said: “Jack Steele and Family deals with what steel has meant to the city of Sheffield. It’s a bitter-sweet look at Sheffield’s steel heritage and the impact the past has on future generations.

Jack Steele and Family is at the Crucible Theatre from July 12-20 and tickets are on sale now.