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ALAN BENNETT directed by NICK BOWLING
STUDY GUIDE
prepared by Maren Robinson, Dramaturg
This Study Guide for The History Boys was prepared by Maren Robinson and edited by Lara Goetsch for TimeLine
Theatre, its patrons and educational outreach. Please request permission to use these materials for any subsequent
production.…read more

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STUDY GUIDE -- Table of Contents
The Playwright: Alan Bennett ..................................................................................... 3
The Play: Production History ....................................................................................... 4
The History .................................................................................................................... 4
Bennett in The History Boys ........................................................................................ 5
Northern England ......................................................................................................... 5
The British Education System ..................................................................................... 6
The Universities: Oxford and Cambridge .................................................................... 6
University Rankings ..................................................................................................... 8
Timeline of the 1980s .................................................................................................... 8
Margaret Thatcher's Britain ...................................................................................... 10
Translations of the French Scenes ............................................................................. 11
Glossary ....................................................................................................................... 13
Literary References ......................................................................................................18
Historical References .................................................................................................. 35
Art References ............................................................................................................. 38
Music References ........................................................................................................…read more

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The Playwright: Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett was born May 9, 1934, in Leeds, Yorkshire. He attended Leeds Modern
School. In 1957 he graduated from Exeter College, Oxford University with a first class
degree in medieval history. He made his stage debut in Beyond the Fringe at the 1959
Edinburgh Festival. He was a junior lecturer in history at Magdalen College, Oxford from
19601962.
Bennett's career includes acting, writing and directing as well as television and radio
broadcasting.…read more

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The Play: Production History
The History Boys premiered at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in London in
May 2004 and played to soldout audiences for an extended run. It toured to Hong
Kong, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia in 2006. The play premiered on Broadway in
April 2006. The play has received more than 30 major awards, including Britain's Olivier
award for Best New Play in 2005 and six Tony Awards, including Best Play in 2006.…read more

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Bennett in The History Boys
"I don't know why it should only be Catholics who are thought never to escape
their religious upbringing I have never managed to outgrow mine."
-- Alan Bennett in the introduction to Talking Heads
Many authors use incidents in their own lives as fodder for their creative work.…read more

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