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Aroundtown MEETS


South Yorkshire legend, Paul Shane. His grandfather, who he is named


after, was the prolific wrestler, Jack Land AKA Karl Von Kramer, whose 40-year career in the ring saw him named one of Barnsley’s sporting heroes and a tag teammate of Kes actor, Brian Glover.


With his parents Jack with his Grandparents


platform to showcase my work and produce shows for the people of Barnsley.


“Our theatre goers don’t suffer fools gladly and most audiences at the Lamproom are looking for escapism and to be entertained so you have to capitalise on their reaction to stir up ideas for new shows.” Fortunately for Jack, his risks have paid off and he headlines The


‘His grandfather, who he is named after, was the prolific wrestler, Jack Land AKA Karl Von Kramer, whose 40-year career in the ring saw him named one of Barnsley’s sporting heroes.’


Lamproom multiple times every year, fulfilling a dream he’s held since being a young lad. You could say performing runs through his DNA.


His parents, railway administrator


Tony and nursery nurse Betty, have moonlighted as cabaret act, Midnight Duo, for decades, working the northern clubland scene and once supporting Ken Dodd. Tony was also the former drummer for


“I’ve always been ingrained in this world of weirdness. I was writing pantos at primary school and staging them in the school hall. But despite their own performing backgrounds, my parents never pushed me into it. I just loved the stage.”


Growing up in Stairfoot, Jack had his first taste of life on the stage aged five. A few years later, he started training with Barnsley College’s Electric Theatre every Saturday morning.


When the Lamproom opened in 1999, a ten-year-old Jack joined the youth theatre ensemble which he remained part of for six years. His teens were also spent writing original plays inspired by the classic comedians he would watch with Grandad Jack.


“I had a great education and appreciation of comedy thanks to my grandad. Even as a child, I studied the likes of Eric Sykes rather than just watching them passively.” After studying A Levels at Barnsley College, Jack went on to read Drama at Huddersfield University where he graduated with a first-class degree.


“When I first applied, my college drama tutor was adamant I should have been going to somewhere like RADA for better training. But when they researched the course’s credentials, they apologised. During


my time there, Sir Patrick Stewart was chancellor so we had a few Shakespeare workshops with him. “I’m a bit of a home bird so I chose Huddersfield over moving to London as I could commute easily enough. Plus, with Dad working on the railways I got free train travel which is a no-brainer for a student.” While at university, Jack launched


The Yorkshireman Company, the producing arm of his repertoire. At just 21, he put on his first show called Grappling, a musical with muscle based loosely on the life of his wrestler grandfather. Jack Snr, who was 80 at the time, was drafted in to help choreograph the wrestling moves for the cast.


All subsequent productions have shared a common thread, knitting together the gritty and witty parts of Barnsley life.


“It sounds clichéd but I always try to write about what I know as I feel you produce something more genuine. Thankfully, the wells have yet to run dry but I keep chipping away at the weird and wonderful ideas that spring into my head,” Jack says.


Many of his shows are based around a matriarchal influence, such as the rude and crude Barnsley Belles about three women who want to escape the breadline at any cost, with plenty of dirty laundry to be aired. Thanks to its critical acclaim, this was later adapted into The Salford Belles as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe and played to sell-out houses at the Hope Mill Theatre.


Another show, The Widows Club, which is more OAP power than girl power, was recently revived for the


aroundtownmagazine.co.uk 5


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