Written by John Godber and Jane Thornton

Hayling Community Centre - Sat 17th May 2002

Park Community School - Tues 20th May 2002

Havant Arts Centre - Weds 21st May 2002

Bedhampton Social Hall - Sat 24th - Sun 25th May 2002

Directed by Tim Taylor

Shakers Cocktail Bar is THE place to be! After work, before a club, to meet the blokes, to pick up the girls, to drink to celebrate or drown your sorrows, for birthdays and parties and romance and sin, this is the place to be seen.
And in 'Shakers' the four young waitresses reveal the lives of its staff and customers and offer an insight into their hopes, dreams and disappointments. John Godber's sparkling writing builds on the success of his earlier 'Bouncers' to create a richly absorbing yet tellingly revealing modern comedy.

AuthorsJohn Godber and Jane Thornton

John Harry Godber (b 1956)

Godber was born in Upton, West Yorkshire, the son and grandson of miners. He trained as a drama teacher at Bretton Hall College and later became head of drama at Minsthorpe High School.

A prolific writer, His stage plays include 'Perfect Pitch', 'Teechers', 'Up n Under', 'Blood, Sweat and Tears', 'Bouncers' 'On the Piste', and 'April in Paris'. He has won numerous awards for his work including a Lawrence Olivier award, five Edinburgh Fringe First Awards, seven Los Angeles Critics Circle Awards. His television credits include 'Brookside' and 'Grange Hill' and he won a BAFTA for his co-authorship on the screenplay of 'Odd Squad' which was shown on BBC2.

Godber is best known as the man behind the Hull Truck Theatre Company which he joined as Artistic Director in 1984. He's also well-known for having directed all of his own plays and some others besides. He is also made Professor of Popular Theatre at Liverpool Hope University in 2004. He has been Professor of Drama at Hull University for several years.

Jane Thornton (b 1961)

Playwright and actress Jane Thornton was born in 1961. She is married to writer and director John Godber and the couple work together at Hull Truck Theatre where she performs and produces. She has written 12 plays including 'All The Fun Of The Fight', 'I Want That Hair', 'Everyday Heroes' and 'Thick as a Brick'. She also worked with husband John on the BAFTA-winning screenplay of 'Odd Squad'. She was also a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 1986.


Shakers was written in 1987 at the height of the "Thatcherite" yuppie revolution, when every town in the UK had its ubiquitous cocktail bar and the numbers of such establishments were increasing.

The play is a sequence of quick-fire humour interspersed with serious monologues, which starts off very light hearted. We are given a glimpse of this world by the four long-suffering waitresses who work at the local trendy cocktail bar. Each actress's main character has a very distinct personality and every one of the actresses used their own particular style to portray these four quite different young girls. As the story unfolds, the waitresses take turns to describe their character to the audience. Multi-role-play and cross cutting are used frequently within the play to allow the audience to meet a wide range of characters.

The Bench Production

This play was staged as part of the "Nine Days in May" Arts Festival at the following local venues:

Saturday 17th May - Hayling Community Centre
Tuesday 20th May - Park Community School
Wednesday 21st May - Havant Arts Centre
Saturday 24th May - Sunday 25th May, Bedhampton Social Hall

Shakers poster image


AdeleFrancine Huin-Wah
CarolRobin Hall
MelFiona Fairhurst
NickyVicky Hayter


Director Tim Taylor
Stage Manager Richard Le Moignan
Sound Design Richard Le Moignan
Lighting Operation Richard Le Moignan
Sound Operation Richard Le Moignan
Set Design Tim Taylor
Set Construction Tim Taylor
Front of House Paul Millington

Director's Notes

Shakers tends to be dismissed as "Bouncers for girls". Even if that were true - and it is not - it is unclear why that should be considered to be a weakness. Undeniably John Godber's 'Bouncers' is its starting point, but the idea has developed from there, to create a work in which the four lead roles have more fully rounded and individual characters, a greater depth and more of a history than the rather lighter depictions of the four bouncers.

In fact it is a very astute depiction of real life for the current age. The characters face ever-present concerns of money, love, self-image, family and peer pressures; of unwanted pregnancy, sexual harassment and personal safety in modern Britain. In many respects rather than 'Bouncers' to peel back the veneer of glib superficial youthful overconfidence, and in doing so makes both a better comedy and a more enriching drama. This is partly the consequence of our convention; the more stronger history of men impersonating women than vice versa. If you take a bullet-headed man in a dinner jacket and bow tie, as broad as he is high - the archetypal night club bouncer - and then give him a dainty hand bag and a high pitched voice, you have created instant comedy; cheap comedy, but comedy none the less. The cost is that the joke is so immediately recognisable that it can be difficult to make it more than slapstick.

The reverse is slightly different. True, "the lads" - as the waitresses depict them - are purely caricature, but caricature can show up facets and features as sharply as any satire and use comedy to reveal something new rather than simply an end in itself.

So yes, this is a child of 'Bouncers' and had it not been for the success of that would doubtless never have been written, but Shakers has moved on from there and deserves now to be given its independence.

Tim Taylor

Production Photographs