I love The History Boys - it is mischievous, poignant, shocking and fun! This August, Alan Bennett's popular play is returning to Eastbourne in the capable hands of Bootcamp Theatre, the company that has recently produced Art, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Our Country's Good. It will be directed by Sandra Cheesman (Little Gem, Blackbird).
The History Boys premiered in 2004 and won both the Laurence Olivier Award and the Tony Award for Best New Play. It was made into a film starring the original stage cast which included Richard Griffiths and Frances De La Tour, plus two young actors who have gone on to become household names, Dominic Cooper and James Corden.
The play is set in a Sheffield grammar school where a group of eight bright sixth form boys are preparing to sit their Oxbridge entrance exams. It is the first time that the school has put so many boys forward and there are a lot of hopes riding on their exam results. The witty script is a great ensemble piece, driven by the repartee of the boys. It features adult themes of sexuality and power, as well examining the role of history in schools and the philosophies of education. Steve Scott (Our Country's Good, Blackbird) will be playing Hector, the eccentric General Studies teacher who cares more about learning for its own sake than for the restrictions of the set curriculum. The Headmaster is ambitious for his school to move up the academic leagues and does not believe that Hector's coaching will get the class to Oxbridge. So he brings in a cynical young supply teacher, Irwin, to share the workload. The character of Irwin is believed to have been based on Niall Ferguson, now known for his historical television programmes.
Underground Theatre, Wed 22nd - Sat 25th Aug, 19:30.
Tickets £10 / £9.
Available online, by calling 0845 680 1926, or from Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre.