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Actors taken back to John Godber’s rugby roots

Playwright John Godber has taken the cast of his forthcoming anniversary production of Up 'n' Under, including Abi Titmuss, on a nostalgic trip back to the rugby club which inspired him to write the play.

The cast, which also features former Gladiator James Crossley, local Emmerdale actor Lewis Linford and film and TV actor William Ilkley, enjoyed a visit to Upton Amateur Rugby League Football Club in the West Yorkshire village as part of their rehearsals.

Abi Titmuss, who will play Hazel, said: 'It's been brilliant to come here and be in the actual place that inspired John to write Up 'n' Under. It's really given me a taste of amateur rugby league and what it's all about. There is a great atmosphere at the club, it's a real social hub, but it's obvious that rugby league is a serious business - it means a lot and rightly so.'

James Crossley said: 'John grew up around rugby and this is his local ground, these are the kind of lads that the play is about. We are actors from all walks of life - we need to show the spirit and the banter that goes on between guys like these in a rugby team.'

Former teacher John Godber, who grew up and later taught in Upton, suggested writing a play about rugby league when he was interviewed for the job of Hull Truck Theatre's Artistic Director - he got the job and kept his word. In 1984, Up 'n' Under was staged for the first time at Hull Truck's Spring Street venue and attracted huge audiences. A year later it won an Olivier Award. In 1998 it was made into a hit film starring Neil Morrissey and Samantha Janus. This 25th anniversary production will be staged from October 8-31 at Hull Truck Theatre's new £15m home, then from November 2-7 at Wakefield Theatre Royal.

John Godber said: 'This is the first place I ever saw rugby played and I felt we needed to come back here and see the game at grassroots level. Had I not been exposed to rugby here then I wouldn't have written Up 'n' Under in Hull and Hull Truck wouldn't have become an Olivier Award-winning company. You could argue it all started here.'

To book tickets call (01482) 323638 or visit


Media enquiries to Alice Mooney on 01482 325012 or email

Notes for editors:

· Press night for Up 'n' Under will be Friday 9 October. Please confirm your attendance by emailing

Up 'n' Under is written and directed by John Godber and designed by Pip Leckenby.
Hazel - Abi Titmuss
Arthur - William Ilkley
Steve - Lewis Linford
Tony - James Crossley
Frank - Eamonn Fleming
Phil / Reg - Rob Angell

Up 'n' Under will be performed at Hull Truck from October 8-31 in the Main Theatre at 7.30pm.
There will be 2pm matinee performances on Wednesday 14 and

28 October and Saturday 17 and 31 October.
A signed performance will be held on Friday 23 October.
Tickets cost £9 - £18.

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