As previously reported (See News, 12 Sep 2006), the National Theatre’s multi award-winning production of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys will transfer to the West End later this year, opening at Wyndham’s Theatre on 3 January 2007 (previews from 21 December 2006).

It arrives in the West End following its current UK tour, in which Stephen Moore plays unconventional English teacher Hector, with Isla Blair (as Mrs Lintott), William Chubb (as the Headmaster) and Orlando Wells (as Irwin). Meanwhile, fresh from their Tony Award-winning Broadway success, the original cast, led by Richard Griffiths as Hector, returns to London today for tonight’s world premiere of the Twentieth Century Fox film version (on general release from 13 October), in which they recreate their stage roles on screen.

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 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards. In addition, Griffiths won the Best Actor prizes at the Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Oliviers; and Hytner won the Olivier for Best Director. On Broadway this summer, The History Boys won a total of six Tony Awards including Best Play, Best Actor in a Play for Griffiths and Best Direction of a Play for Hytner.

In the current stage production, 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.

The tour – which follows two sell-out seasons at the National Theatre, an eight-week UK tour in 2005, an international tour to Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia, and the Broadway season – concludes in Manchester on 25 November 2006 before transferring for 17 weeks at Wyndham’s. The production is directed by Simon Cox after Hytner and produced by the National Theatre and National Angels.

Currently at Wyndham’s, the Donmar Warehouse transfer of John Mortimer’s Voyage Round My Father, starring Derek Jacobi, is due to finish its limited season on 16 December (See News, 28 Jul 2006).

- by Terri Paddock