John was born the son of a miner in Upton, West Yorkshire. He trained as a teacher in drama at Breton Hall College. 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 an MA from Leeds University, an Hon DLitt from Hull University, an Hon DLitt from Lincoln University and a DUni from the Open University. He is a Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Liverpool Hope University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
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 and seven Los Angeles Critics' Circle Awards. His plays include BOUNCERS, UP 'N' UNDER, APRIL IN PARIS, 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, MUDDY COWS and FUNNY TURNS. John also co-wrote the highly successful SHAKERS with Jane Thornton.
John is also co-writer of the BAFTA-award-winning ODDSQUAD and wrote both THUNDER ROAD and MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE (BBC). His first feature film, UP 'N' UNDER, adapted from his own play was released in 1998.
John has also written extensively for radio, including two series of SPREAD A LITTLE HAPPINESS, which he co-wrote with Jane Thornton for Watershed Productions, GOING EAST, also co-written with Jane Thornton and FIRST BORN, both for the BBC.
John has recently established The John Godber Company working with the Theatre Royal, Wakefield, which will present his plays. To date the company has toured his play THE DEBT COLLECTORS, WEEKEND BREAKS and LOSING THE PLOT, all of which he has also directed. He has also directed a production of his adaptation of Stan Barstow's A KIND OF LOVING for The John Godber Company.
John's most recent work is comedy THIS
MIGHT HURT which played at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in November 2016.