Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DA

The History Boys Poster

The History Boys

Closed April 14, 2007

"It is a measure of Bennett's success that, just when you think you have finally understood his play, it cunningly eludes your grasp."

The Guardian

Why See The History Boys?


Over ten years ago, Alan Bennett's new play, The History Boys, a formidable, clever and funny look at the impressionable last years of school, opened at the Lyttleton. Initially a run-way success, the original cast, including the late, great, Richard Griffiths, Frances De La Tour, Dominic Cooper and James Corden, with direction from Nicolas Hynter, mounted a sell-out world tour, ending with a similarly successful Broadway engagement and subsequent film that cemented it as one of the most well-loved and revived plays of the century so far.

Sheffield 1983

At Cutler's Grammar School, The History Boys are the school's latest triumph, scoring higher on their A Levels than any year previously, their gleeful Headmaster sets them on the course of the Oxbridge entrance exam, under the tutelage of three teachers, who's styles and personality delve deeply into the nature of learning and shaping anarchic young minds for the future.

Foremost is Hector, the effete and eccentric 'General Studies' teacher, who's lessons, though inspirational, are far from orthodox, borrowing liberally from literature and popular culture to create rounded and liberal boys who quote Brief Encounters and role play French Brothels. This exuberance and freedom is in stark contrast to the more constrained Irwin, a new master who's exam based approach clashes immediately.

Tied together by Lintott, the long suffering History teacher, The History Boys displays the classic deadpan wit of National Treasure Bennett, as they expertly and energetically navigate the their formative years, this is a comic, intellectual and always interesting play, with a bitter-sweet conclusion that ultimately teaches us to embrace life and never stop learning.

At the Wyndhams for it's third revival under the direction of Paul Miller; This production was well reviewed and though touted as it's last outing under the National's flag, it's unlikely to stay extinct for long.

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Additional Information


Opening night: 21 December 2006


This production contains strong language. Parental guidance is advised for children under the age of 14.

Run time

2 hours 45 minutes including a 15 minute intermission.

Cast and Creative


Desmond Barrit
Elizabeth Bell
Tim Delap
Daniel Fine
Andrew Hawley
Ryan Hawley
Thomas Howes
Danny Kirrane
Alton Letto
Sam Phillips
Nathan Stewart-Jarrett


Music by: Richard Sisson
Author: Alan Bennett
Director: Paul Miller, after Nicholas Hytner
Designer: Bob Crowley
Lighting Designer: Mark Henderson


2004 Evening Standard Award for Best Play
2005 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play
2006 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play
2006 New York Drama Critics' Circle Best Play
2006 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Broadway Play
2006 Tony Award for Best Play


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