The History Boys

by  Alan Bennett

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  11m, 1f

"Madly enjoyable!" - The New York Times
"Nothing could diminish the incendiary achievement of this subtle, deep-wrought and immensely funny play about the value and meaning of education...In short, a superb, life-enhancing play." - The Guardian

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The History Boys

by  Alan Bennett

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    11m, 1f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Tony, Olivier, From Broadway, From West End
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Scene work
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form (senior) boys in a British boarding school are, as such boys will be, in pursuit of sex, sport, and a place at a good university - generally in that order. In all their efforts, they are helped and hindered, enlightened and bemused, by a maverick English teacher who seeks to broaden their horizons in sometimes undefined ways, and by a young history teacher who questions the methods, as well as the aim, of their schooling. In The History Boys, Alan Bennett raises - with gentle wit and pitch-perfect command of character - not only universal questions about the nature of history and how it is taught but also questions about the purpose of education today. Following a sold out run in London, The History Boys premiered on Broadway in April 2006 taking the Tony Award as Best Play of the Season.
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Accolades

  • Winner! 2006 Tony Award, Best Play
    Winner! 2005 Olivier Award, Best New Play
    Winner! 2006 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Play
    Winner! 2006 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Broadway Play
    Winner! 2004 Evening Standard Award, Best Play

Reviews

"Madly enjoyable...moves with a breezy narrative swagger that transcends cultural barriers...Musical numbers, video sequences, scholarly debates, the acting-out of vintage movie scenes, moments of shocking emotional nakedness and wry internal monologues travel cheek by jowl here...Mr. Bennet's dialogue [is] as shimmering and warming as a fine Cognac...As befits a play about precocious, irreverent students...The History Boys is a bright brooder with a strong streak of the showoff" - The New York Times

"Nothing could diminish the incendiary achievement of this subtle, deep-wrought and immensely funny play about the value and meaning of education...In short, a superb, life-enhancing play." - The Guardian

"Brilliantly funny...The History Boys is moving, disquieting: one follows it with a heart brimful...[Bennett's] finest work in decades." - Financial Times

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1980s
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: A high school in the north of England. The mid-1980's.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Casting

11m, 1f
HEADMASTER
HECTOR - English/General studies teacher
IRWIN - History teacher
MRS. DOROTHY LINTOTT - History teacher
AKTHAR - student, Muslim
CROWTHER - student, acts as a hobby
STUART DAKIN - student, handsome
JAMES LOCKWOOD - student, opinionated
DAVID POSNER - student, the youngest, gay, Jewish
RUDGE - student, an athlete
DONALD SCRIPSS - student, Anglican, pianist
TIMMS - student, class clown, overweight
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Features Teens
  • Multicultural casting

Resources

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Authors

Alan Bennett

Alan Bennett was born in Leeds in 1934. After studying at Oxford University he collaborated as a writer and performer with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook in Beyond the Fringe in 1960 at the Edinburgh Festival. He then turned to writing full time and produced his first stage play Forty Years On in 1968. ...

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The History Boys was first presented by the National Theatre at the Lyttleton Theatre in London on May 18, 2004. It was directed by Nicholas Hytner. The play was subsequently presented on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City on April 23, 2006. It was also directed by Mr. Hytner.

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