The Hired Man

A musical following the epic tale of a working-class man and his wife in northern England at the turn of the twentieth century.

Photo: Queen's Theatre Hornchurch, 2019,  photograph by Mark Sepple
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Professional Organisations 
The professional rights to this show are handled by ALW Show Licensing – please contact us to enquire about obtaining a licence:
Schools & Amateur Organisations
The amateur rights to this show are handled by Concord Theatricals – please contact Concord to enquire about obtaining a licence. 
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Book by Melvyn Bragg
Music and lyrics by Howard Goodall

The Hired Man is a musical based on Melvyn Bragg’s 1969 novel of the same name. Adapted by Bragg and Blackadder scribe Howard Goodall, the show made its world premiere in 1984.

Set in the mostly rural area of “Thurston” from the 1890s to the 1920s, The Hired Man follows John Tallentire, a coal miner and farm labourer, and his wife, Emily. The pair deal with love, children, tragedy and betrayal, against a background of changing times in northern England, including World War One.

Featuring both a strong male and female lead, along with an expandable cast, this piece is a rewarding challenge for community and professional theatres. The historical, social and political aspects of the storyline should be of great interest to secondary school audiences.

Professional enquiries – Contact Us

Amateur enquiries – Contact Concord Theatricals 


Size of orchestra: Small/Combo

Genre: Adaptation (Literature) Social Themes

Vocal demands: Moderate

Dance Requirements: Minimal

Cast Size: Medium

Casting Opportunities: Ensemble Cast Expandable Casting Star Vehicle Female Star Vehicle Male

Performance groups


Videos from the show

  • Julia Hills, Paul Clarkson and company perform at the 1984 Laurence Olivier Awards
  • “If I could / Hired Man Reprise” - Kilkenny Musical Society
  • “Fade Away” - Hessle Theatre Company
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