The History Boys
This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows
Opened 18 May 2004, closed 2 September 2004 at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in London
Following a successful season four month season at The Wyndham's Theatre last year, the National Theatre's production of the hit Alan Bennett play The History Boys - directed by Nicholas Hytner (recreated by Paul Miller) and the winner of 30 major awards including Olivier and Tony awards for 'Best New Play' - returns for another season.
"The richest play Bennett has ever written. Wonderfully it blends wit and wisdom, with knockout humour and pain" The Financial Times
Set in the 1980s in the north of England, The History Boys charts the fortunes of an unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form boys in pursuit of of sex, sport and a place at Oxford or Cambridge University under the guidance of a maverick English teacher, a shrewd supply teacher - and a headmaster obsessed with results.
The cast features Desmond Barrit as 'Hector', David Mallinson as 'Headmaster', Elizabeth Bell as 'Mrs Lintott', Tim Delap as 'Irwin', Daniel Fine as 'Posner', Andrew Hawley as 'Dakin', Thomas Howes as 'Scripps', Ryan Hawley as 'Rudge', Sam Phillips as 'Lockwood', Alton Letto as 'Akthar', Danny Kirrane as 'Timms', Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as 'Crowther', Lennox Greaves as 'TV Director' and Amanda Reed as 'Make up Lady' along with Gabeen Kane, David Osmond and Adam Foster. Casting subject to change.
Please note that this production contains strong language and therefore parental guidance is advised for children under the age of 14.
"A play of depth as well as dazzle, intensely moving as well as thought-provoking and funny"
"The school gives them an education. I give them the wherewithal to resist it. Examine a boy and he is tamed already. Only examine him and you can tax him, empanel him, enlist him, interrogate him and put him in prison. You have only to grade him and you have got him"
The History Boys is an hilarious and thought-provoking play that explores the anarchy of adolescence and the purpose of education.
Alan Bennett's play The History Boys in London was originally seen at The National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in May 2004, winning The Olivier Award for 'Best New Play', and playing an extended 12 month repertory season before returning in December 2005 for a further two month season in repertory. The production transferred to New York's Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway where it played a five month season, winning The Tony Award for 'Best New Play'. A film version of The History Boys, featuring the original stage cast, was released in October 2006. The History Boys in London then played a four month season at The Wyndham's Theatre from December 2006 to April 2007.
"A subtle, deep-wrought and immensely funny play about the value and meaning of education"
Alan Bennett about writing The History Boys: "Plays begin with characters - particularly in this one, the character of Hector. I suppose the contrasting methods of Hector and Irwin do say something about the educational system today but that wasn't what I set out to write about. I wanted to put these two characters together in order to see what happened. That Irwin turned out to be (or end up as) a spin doctor rather took me by surprise, but the more history he taught, and his particular slant on history, made me see that there was a link between that sort of teaching and the sort of presentation that goes on in politics and the media."
"Alan Bennett's new play The History Boys is a class act; a funny, moving, profound piece about class and education set in a boys' grammer school in Sheffield... [Nick Hytner's production] is superb, beautifully alert to every note and nuance in this tremendous play." The Mail on Sunday
"This drama of education - what it should be, might be and is - shows Bennett at his funniest, most rueful and far-reaching." The Observer
"Alan Bennett is back on his best form - it was obvious from the start that Bennett had created one of his most memorable characters in 'Hector' (it's a nickname), an eccentric, inspirational English teacher at a Northern school. And some of the early classroom scenes are blissfully funny, especially one where, in order to improve their language skills, the boys are acting out an episode in a French brothel and the headmaster suddenly shows up." The Sunday Telegraph