'Students punching above their weight' in John Godber's September in the Rain

This October, Josh Schofield and Emily Kitteringham performed in John Godber’s highly regarded play September in the Rain. The Performance was directed by our very own Neil Sissons and it took place at the Performance Lab as part of the working-class voices strand for the Off the Shelf Festival of Words 2019.

Godber expresses the culture and concerns of the northern working class through poignant and poetic plays that have huge popular appeal.  September in the Rain, one of Godber's personal favourites, is a gently, lyrical comedy that looks back across a lifetime of family holidays spent in Blackpool.  Mavis's guesthouse, Blackpool sands, donkey rides and the Tower Ballroom provide a sharp backdrop for this funny and moving evocation of the lives of Jack and Liz. 


Photograph by Becky Payne

Godber’s play has been described by The Evening Standard as “The work of a genuinely talented playwright”. Godber explains that, “really, it's just a story about two people being in love and then growing old." SHU Performance were delighted to be given special permission to perform the play and to bring a new staging of the work to local audiences.

Director Neil Sissons remarked that, “It was a great experience to be able to work on a piece for the Off the Shelf festival and to be able to invite the public into Performance Lab.  It was particularly rewarding to see such large audiences for every performance!  Josh and Emily were terrific.  They are a great example of the talent we have amongst all our students.  They worked with focus and discipline and their performances are shining examples of what Hallam is capable of producing and why we are The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year for Teaching Quality."


Photograph by Becky Payne

“Both actors displayed a level of expertise and elan which one would normally associate with drama school actor training.  However, under the expert eye of director Neil Sissons any suggestion that this was a student production evaporated almost as soon as the play began!" commented Godber after viewing one of the performances. Of Kitteringham and Schofield he said that these were "two students punching above their weight in what was a very touching and mature evocation of Blackpool in its heyday.  Truthful and engaging, they had the audience with them all the way."


Photograph by Becky Payne

The two performers are recent graduates of the Performance for Stage and Screen degree at Sheffield Hallam University (soon to become Acting & Performance). For the last two years, final year students have given the course a 100% satisfaction score, in the National Student Survey, making it one of the best rated degree courses in the University and amongst other similar acting and performance degrees across the country.

On the course, students get an opportunity to improve their acting skills, understand how to make their own work, across a range of platforms (stage, screen & audio), and to appreciate how to apply their skills and knowledge to employment in the sector and the wider workplace. Every year the second-year students also go to an International theatre festival, such as the Prague Fringe. 

If you wish to know more about our BA (hons) degree in Acting & Performance at Sheffield Hallam University, then please go to www.shuperformance.co.uk

Top photograph by Becky Payne


Sheffield Hallam University Acting and Performance is based in the Department of Humanities at Sheffield Hallam University.

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