Jack Rooke: Good Grief at Pontio

Jack Rooke’s critically acclaimed debut hour Good Grief kicks off Soho Theatre’s 2017 touring programme as they continue to bring the best work from London’s most vibrant venue for new theatre, comedy and cabaret to the rest of the UK. The tour will visit Pontio Bangor’s theatre studio on 29 April at 7.30pm.

Having developed the show through Soho Young Company (Soho Theatre’s education programme aimed at discovering and nurturing new writers and artists), Jack took Good Grief to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015 where it received an array of four and five star reviews and a mention in The New York Times’ highlights of the Edinburgh Festival. The sell out hit continued its success as part of Soho Theatre’s inaugural Soho Rising Season last year after playing at Shoreditch Town Hall, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and Bestival.

“Good Grief kicks off an exciting time for us at Soho Theatre as we step up our touring this year. Working with our partners we are also touring Ursula Martinez’s Free Admission & Panti’s High Heels in Low Places as we take the best of our work to new audiences up and down the country.” Sarah Dodd, Soho Theatre’s Touring Producer.

Good Grief blends comedy, storytelling and film to explore how we treat the bereaved whilst challenging proposed welfare cuts for grieving families and celebrating finding happiness after tragedy. With a coffin full of sympathy snacks, Rooke and his Nan invite audiences to the happiest town in Britain where Dad’s dead and the only thing to eat is lasagna.

“Nobody but Rooke could have told his story with such unflinching humour” ★★★★★ Broadway Baby

Rooke was commissioned by BBC Comedy to adapt Good Grief for BBC Radio 4 which aired mid-March and  has made his debut TV documentary series Happy Man for BBC Three as part of a mental health season this spring. He is the resident on-air expert in mental health and bereavement for BBC Radio 1, frequently heard on Radio 1’s Surgery and featured on documentaries like ‘R1’s Guide to Happiness’ and Clara Amfo’s ‘Running With Grief’. He has written for the Independent, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, The Guardian and the CALMzine, of which he was Deputy Editor from 2013-2015 after being an ambassador of CALM.

“[Jack Rooke] has a punchy sense of humour and an anarchic, naughty spring in his step.” Gemma Cairney

He also hosts the Guardian Literary Institute at Camp Bestival as well as The Arts Amphitheatre at Bestival and has performed at Soho Theatre, The Royal Court, The Roundhouse, Trafalgar Studios, Latitude and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2015, Jack was one of Gemma Cairney’s Cultural Highlights and Good Grief was nominated for the Total Theatre Award for Best Show by an Emerging Artist in Edinburgh.

“Good Grief started in my Nan's council flat over some sweet and sour chicken balls and has bizarrely achieved any dream I had for it. As a comedy-documentary-theatre show its been commissioned by BBC Comedy, spawned a BBC Three documentary series (Happy Man), featured in The New York Times fringe highlights and now I'm chuffed it's touring nationally with Soho Theatre. I hope this encourages people to eat sweet and sour chicken balls and chat with their Nan more often.” Jack Rooke



Bangor, Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre Studio, Sat 29 Apr, 7.30pm

Tickets: www.pontio.co.uk or 01248 38 28 28 or call in at the centre.

Publication date: 30 March 2017