Department of English Publications


The History Boys at The Grand

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Alan Bennett’s “The History Boys” is a play from one time (2004) about another time (the late 1980s); set in Northern England near the end of Margaret Thatcher’s era-defining turn as Prime Minister, it’s actually designed to resonate with a post-9/11, pre-7/7, pre-2008, “New Labour” Britain. Before the transit bombings, Tony Blair’s disgraced exit, and the global debacle of Lehmann Brothers, when neoliberalism was still just a bad idea and not a worldwide catastrophe, the time for a play about learning – about the meanings of history; about league tables and student success measures; about the possibility that teaching and learning should not be instrumentalized, transformed into mere economic products – seemed right, somehow.


Review of The History Boys by Alan Bennett, directed by John Gerry, performed at the Calithumpian Theatre

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