Lichfield St, Wolverhampton WV1 1DE, UK

INTERVIEW | The History Boys at Wolves Grand Theatre.

Alan Bennett's well-known British play The History Boys is being performed at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from 7-22 February. The play, set in the 80s, centres around a group of sixth form students from a school in Sheffield who are all striving to get into Oxford and Cambridge. Their mentor, Hector is an "old-fashioned teacher" and the headteacher doesn't think he's quite cutting it. Frazer Hadfield who plays Scripps says that the headteacher introduces the help of a younger teacher, Irwin who is fresh from university. The History Boys looks at what knowledge is, what education is and how the two very different styles mingle together. It also looks at the boys growing up and it's a real coming of age story of the boys discovering what they want to do for themselves and how education guides them to that". 



The cast of this Wolverhampton Grand Theatre production got together to discuss their individual characters and Alan Bennett's wonderful play.

Tell us about your individual characters?

Thomas Grant: My character Posner is Jewish and gay. He is coming to terms with the fact he is in love with Dakin...

Jordan Scowen: Dakin is someone who doesn't take anything too seriously. He likes the attention of the women which is what he spends a lot of his time focusing on. He has a bit of a strange relationship with Irwin, who is a figure he's never had in his life before and has quite a strong effect on him.

Arun Bassi: My character Akhtar is a young Muslim living in Sheffield. He is very much a cheeky chap; he loves hanging out with the lads and he loves bonding with this group of people he's known all his life. 

Dominic Treacy: Timms is the archetypal joker within the pack. He loves a laugh and is bright, but also is often the distraction in the group.

Frazer Hadfield: Scripps acts as a bit of a wise man for some of the characters. He is extremely religious and steps out of the action sometimes to narrate the action on stage. 

Joe Wiltshire Smith: Rudge likes his rugby, he's earthy but he thinks he's out of his depth. 

James Schofield: I play Lockwood who is quite a focused individual. He wants to do well and is quite driven, but he also takes the opportunity to clown about a bit. 

Adonis Jenieco: Crowther is an aspiring actor and is always encouraging other people to join him in little scenes.

The play asks a lot of questions about relations, sexuality, and education. Why is the play so relevant today and why are audiences still engaged with it 15 years later?

Arun Bassi - Because none of this hasn’t stopped, putting it very bluntly. Issues like the ones seen in the play not only in schools, everywhere else, are perhaps even more relevant today and I think that’s why it draws people in to watch it. I think it deals with the issues in a comedic, witty, fast-paced, youthful portrayal, which makes the audience feel like it isn’t shoved down their throat.



Which part of the rehearsal process or production are you enjoying and most excited about? 

James Schofield: We have already really connected as a group and we have a lot of banter going.. we're a tight group and you just know that's going to get stronger, so I think for me this is a really exciting part. 

Joe Wiltshire Smith: I think finding the fun on stage will be easy because it is fun and natural being around these guys, everyone's just clicked really well, and I think it'll be great by the time it actually gets to the stage. 

How do you think the audiences will feel about the show and why should they buy a ticket? 

Adonis Jenieco - It’s simply a brilliant play. Its just incredible, the writing is exceptional, anyone who has read it, seen it, or heard it comes out saying how fantastic it is!

Dominic Treacy - The relationship between the boys and Hector is so much of what the play focuses on, and watching that story play out in 2020, we’re more aware of issues, it’s even more prevalent in society and of course how we approach issues like that. 

The History Boys is at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from 7 – 22 February. Tickets can be bought online at the theatre's website here, by calling 01902 42 92 12 or in person at the Box Office.

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