The Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

Happy Jack

By John Godber
Directed by Cliff Francis
24th September – 2nd October 2021 at 8:00pm
Matinee on October 2nd at 2:30pm

The story of a lifetime in 90 minutes.

The work of a genuinely talented playwright.

Evening Standard

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd.

Based on the lives of the writer’s own grandparents who lived for their whole lives in a small Yorkshire mining village, it tells the story of their 40-year marriage, warts and all.

Told in reverse we meet Jack and Liz in their sixties not long before their deaths and the play ends as Jack asks Liz out for the first time. Over the 40 years, we see the trials and tribulations of an ordinary working-class couple living their lives the best way they can.

On a simple set consisting of old tables and chairs, a bookcase and a couple of clothes horses. It’s all a bit mundane and routine but this has been their lives for the past 40 years. Nothing much happens but we’re soon drawn into their story.

Underlying the gentleness is the terrible hardships and deprivations Jack went through as a miner and his politics are soon made clear – this is the working man’s lot that he has to endure in order to put a roof over his family’s head and food on the table. Jack certainly isn’t happy, and we soon find out that the title is ironic. However, underneath that hard, angry Yorkshire exterior, he’s a poet and spends his time writing poems which he loves reading aloud to Liz. He may be a hard nut on the outside, but it seems there’s something softer on the inside.

Apart from Liz and Jack, the actors also play a number of other parts.

The story is told as if it was a book with the actors reading out chapter titles and page numbers and breaking the fourth wall, letting the audience know exactly where they are in time.


Directed by
Cliff Francis



Production Manager
Set Dressing
Rehearsal Prompt
Poster Design

Production PHOTOS

(Click image to enlarge)


The work of a genuinely talented playwright.

Evening Standard

She called him ‘Happy Jack’ cause he were allus a miserable bugger.

A truthful timeless quality to this little piece of Yorkshire social history that isn’t showing its age at all.


Opening 28th May
By John Finnemore
Opening 13th June
By Mary Chase



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Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Statement

At the Barn we are committed to promoting equality and challenging discrimination in all its forms. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for all members of the cast and creative team, regardless of their race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity and will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment.

Part 1, 18th Jan 8pm

Part 2, 19th Jan 8pm

Parts 1+2 20th Jan 2.30pm

Part 1, 23rd Jan 8pm

Part 2, 24th Jan 8pm

Part 1, 25th Jan 8pm

Part 2, 26th Jan 8pm

Part 1, 27th Jan 2.30pm

Part 2,  27th Jan 8pm