First out of the gates in 2007, amongst the major openings this week in London are:

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 3 January 2007 (previews from 21 December), the National Theatre’s multi award-winning production of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys at last receives its West End transfer, coming to Wyndham’s Theatre following its 2006 UK tour (See News, 2 Oct 2006).

Set in the 1980s, The History Boys questions the purpose and means of education. In a school where the headmaster cares only about exam results, a bunch of excitable sixth-form boys go about their pursuit of the important things: sex, sport and a university place.

Amongst The History Boys’ shedload of awards to date are: Best Play at the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards, Best New Play at the Olivier Awards and Best New Comedy at the Theatregoers’ Choice Awards.

In the current cast, Stephen Moore plays unconventional teacher Hector (originated on stage and screen Richard Griffiths), with Isla Blair (as Mrs Lintott), William Chubb (as the Headmaster) and Orlando Wells (as Irwin). The boys are played by Owain Arthur, Ben Barnes (Dakin), Philip Correia (Rudge), Marc Elliott, Thomas Morrison (Scripps), Akemnji Ndifornyen, David Poynor and Steven Webb (Posner). The cast also includes Ben Allen, Tina Gray, Derek Howard, Duncan Patrick and Stephen Uppal.

** Our Outing to The History Boys on 15 January, including a FREE programme & post-show cast reception, is now SOLD OUT - click here to join the waiting list! **

OPENING FRIDAY, 5 January 2007, Cirque du Soleil brings its show Alegria back to the Royal Albert Hall for a second consecutive year (See News, 22 Dec 2006). This is be the fourth time overall that the award-winning Canadian circus company, which was established in Quebec in 1984 by a troupe of street performers, has presented Alegria in the UK (in addition to January/February 2006, it was also seen in 1998 and 1999). It’s the eleventh London season for the company, whose other hits include Dralion and Saltimbanco. The new season continues until 29 January.

- by Terri Paddock