Hull Truck Theatre's 50th anniversary programme kicks off tonight with the world premiere of a new - but also quite old - comedy from John Godber OBE himself: a reimagined version of his long-acclaimed show Teechers – originally performed in 1987 – for the school leavers of 2022.
Teechers Leavers ‘22 opens tonight (Thursday) until June 11 and marks the return to Hull Truck Theatre of its former artistic director John Godber, who ran the company and provided many of its plays for more than 25 years.
This modern-day reimagining of the much-loved show – now one of the most performed plays in the world – will be directed by Mark Babych, the company's current artistic director.
In 1987 the teaching of drama in comprehensive schools was being marginalised. In the same year Hull Truck's Teechers became a go-to play to attract young people to the theatre. Thirty-five years later the state system is under more pressure than ever before – and back comes Godber's comedy, a highly-physical, hugely funny and deceptively radical play to entertain both fans of the classic and those who have never seen it before.
Teechers Leevers ‘22 introduces new iterations of original characters Salty, Gail and Hobby, who are departing Whitewall College for uncertain futures. Burn out, pregnancies, stress, affairs, depression; no-one is exempt, from the students and security staff to the business-minded principal.
John Godber said: “I’m thrilled to be a part of Hull Truck’s 50th anniversary programme, and it's fitting to bring this production up to date and back where it all began.
"In some ways, so much has changed since I first wrote the play more than 35 years ago, but in other ways, much has remained the same. The pandemic acted as a magnifying glass – pulling into sharp focus all the ways in which our two-tier education system still puts both young people and teachers in the state system at a disadvantage.
“The story resonated so strongly with audiences across the world because despite its very northern voice, it explored themes echoed globally. I hope this modern iteration will see a new generation take it into their heart”
The theatre's full 50th anniversary programme can be seen here