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- Cast Info and Quotes -
THE HISTORY BOYS
Headmaster
Hector
Irwin
Mrs Lintott
Akthar
Crowther
Dakin
Lockwood
Posner
Rudge
Scripps
Timms
Thomas Wheatley
Gerard Murphy
Ben Lambert
Penelope Beaumont
Beruce Khan
Tom Reed
Kyle Redmond-Jones
George Banks
James Byng
Peter McGovern
Rob Delaney
Christopher Keegan
School experiences of the company
Christopher Luscombe (Director)
“By coincidence, I did absolutely have a Hector figure when I attended King’s College School in
Wimbledon. His name was Frank Miles and he was famous throughout the world of public
schools. It was Frank who suggested that I try for Oxbridge and so, like the History Boys, I
returned to King’s after A levels to prepare for the Oxbridge exam. I wanted to read English
rather than history but otherwise I was in exactly the same position as the boys in the play. His
lessons always felt like an event and you were privileged to have been part of it. I think what
most inspires me about him to this day is what he called ‘close reading’: paying the most
meticulous attention to the text. Once you’ve been taught that, you don’t lose it. When there is a
lack of clarity in rehearsal, I often wonder what Frank would have said in order to cut through all
the vagueness. In a way, I try to honour Frank’s ideals in my work - the primacy of the writer, the
need for a detailed knowledge of the text and the responsibility to serve the playwright. I think
I’m still trying to impress Frank today.”
Penelope Beaumont (Mrs Lintott)
“I must have gone to six or seven schools, which meant that my education was very disjointed
and as the last one went bankrupt and closed before my O levels, I left school with only one.
There were only a couple of teachers who stand out in my memory: Mrs. Heathcote who taught
maths and made me realise that I was good at something and a supply English teacher, who
was the first person at that school with the revolutionary idea that Shakespeare should be acted.
However, when I put down acting as my ambition on their careers form, the whole class was
told not to put down stupid things like acting.”
George Banks (Lockwood)
“I suppose that my GCSE English teacher was the first teacher to respect me as an individual. I
think I was about 14 or 15 and for the first time we were treated as adults - not vacuous
children. He ignited my passion for text and was very much like Hector in that he opened up the
possibilities of everything to us. His work with text was the most fantastic revelation, but at the
same time I have vivid memories of him fooling around…He put a banana on his head and
pretended to be the Jabberwocky. And he would give us different versions of his life story,
including the claim that he was found as a baby in a dumpster.”
Ben Lambert (Irwin)
“I remember Mrs Fallon, my science teacher. She was great fun. She had enormous hair and
her trick was to take two of the lab rats and have them emerge from between her considerable
breasts and then let them vanish into all that hair. Then Mr Felton, my history teacher at Sixth
Form College made a big impression on me. He was very left wing and some of the students in
the class were fairly right wing, so he would deliberately start arguments by firing up the
conservatives in the class and in doing so encouraged us to think for ourselves and argue our
case. I recently went back to Mr Felton’s class. He tends to play the clown more these days
because he finds that the kids are so apolitical that now he has to appear outrageous in another
way to excite their imaginations. He said to me it doesn’t matter what the students think of him
as long as they’re learning, as long as they’re thinking for themselves.“
James Byng (Posner)
“I had a fantastic history teacher at secondary school, Mr S - a youngish, Jewish man who
possessed a strange mixture of an acerbic yet easy-going wit, and a terse authoritativeness; the
kind of teacher who would grin as they gave you detention. School life for me was a constant
challenge to appear sort of psychotically comic and lackadaisical enough to keep bullies at bay,
whilst being covertly desperate to please my teachers. It was teachers like Mr S who made the
game worth playing.”
Christopher Keegan (Timms)
“I’m afraid that I don’t remember the name of the inspirational teacher who taught me English at
Mytholmroyd but I vividly remember his classroom in a basement, where the desks were so
marked by graffiti that there was hardly any wood remaining. He didn’t mind if you skived the
lesson or went to sleep with your head on your desk. He would read aloud to us - I still have the
memory of him reading Lenny in Of Mice and Men in my head. Then he introduced us to
Priestley’s An Inspector Calls and asked me to read the Inspector. Normally he’d ask different
pupils to share the parts but I was allowed to keep the Inspector for the whole reading. It was
this that first introduced me to the importance of text.”
Thomas Wheatley (Headmaster)
“At the King’s School in Canterbury in the late 60s, I was truly channelled towards Oxbridge,
and, unlike Irwin in the play, I did indeed end up reading history at Corpus. I wouldn’t have
missed my time in Oxford for anything, but that forceful Oxbridge focus at school no doubt had
the effect of diverting me for a time away from my true path towards the theatre. Happily, the
two strands are now converging in this, The History Boys.”
Beruce Khan (Akhtar)
“I went to Thornhill School in Sunderland. I learnt the most from my history teacher, Mr Harvey.
His care and enthusiasm for his subject made his lessons very enjoyable and he was able to
control the class without just yelling at us. I’d also like to mention Dorothy Ellis and Andrea
Hough, my drama teachers, whose lessons inspired me to become an actor - and also Judy
Elphinstone who directed the school plays and who I later acted within amateur productions.”
Gerard Murphy (Hector)
“I asked my sister, who is a head teacher, for the secret of good teaching and she said that the
best teachers always care. I believe that the word education, as the Latin derivation suggests,
means a leading out of someone’s potential rather than the putting in of knowledge. My
favourite teacher at grammar school was Brother MacFarlane. One day I was found reading a
book called Two Adolescents by Alberto Moravia. The book was confiscated and, as a
punishment, I was beaten in front of the whole school. Later Brother MacFarlane quietly
returned the book to me with the suggestion that I would enjoy it more in Italian.”
Kyle Redmond-Jones (Dakin)
“I was a bit of a rebel at my school but I remember Miss Manning who took me for science…The
other teachers didn’t want me to sit the higher science exams but I insisted and to their
amazement, I passed with three As, which really pissed them off. Miss Manning was the only
one of them to congratulate me. I should also mention Mr Pritchard, the headmaster. I had a
meeting with him and he agreed to let me take the drama GCSE exam without ever taking a
class. He believed in me.”
Tom Reed (Crowther)
“A teacher who truly inspired me was my head teacher at the Brit School, Adrian Packer. His
enthusiasm and love for the students, the subject and the school gave you the confidence to
really achieve and take risks. He was very much that eccentric teacher, like Hector, that we
would all love to have.”
Peter McGovern (Rudge)
“My inspirational teacher was my music teacher Mr Ramsey, and he remains a friend to this
day. To celebrate our school’s twenty-fifth anniversary, he organised a major concert at the
Civic Theatre in Darlington. Mr Ramsey’s commendable desire to include and give solos to
everybody meant that the show overran by four hours - smashing the record held by Ken Dodd.
He was an incredible teacher whose passion, belief, care and encouragement played a major
part in my decision to become an actor.”
Rob Delaney (Scripps)
“Neil Rhoden, Head of Music at Bristol Old Vic was and still is an inspirational teacher, not least
of all because of his belief in his students. He commands respect and in return nurtures his
students with care and compassion. He gives 100% and expects the same. No MD I have
experienced comes close to getting the results Neil can. He alone taught me about the actors’
attitude: give yourself completely to the work, offer more than is expected and, of course, enjoy
the job.”
If you have any questions or require any further information please contact:
Becky Martin
Press & Communications Officer
Milton Keynes Theatre
[email protected]
01908 547603
www.ambassadortickets.com/miltonkeynes
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