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Production History
Current Season

The History Boys


25 weeks — 140 shows — sold-out!

The History Boys swept the 41st Annual Equity Jeff Awards on
Monday, October 19, 2009 — winning all five of the awards for
which it was nominated. Read complete details here ...


Visit the TimeLine blog: Behind the 'Line


April 22 - October 18, 2009

The History Boys closed on October 18, 2009, after a six-month sold-out run. Thank you to all who made the show a long-running and award-winning hit!

Stay up-to-date on all
The History Boys news:


by Alan Bennett
directed by Nick Bowling

Meet our Boys: A Video Preview

The History Boys: A Video Preview

The History Boys - Video Preview 1

Watch preview scene #1 (powered by The Stage Channel)

The History Boys - Video Preview 2

Watch preview scene #2 (powered by The Stage Channel)

The History Boys reviews

"Nick Bowling's staging is actually more effective in certain key ways than the original National Theatre production, and to my mind more moving as well. ... one of the smartest shows I've seen all season long." — The Wall Street Journal

"More intimate, more enveloping, more stirring, and in places more emotionally sophisticated ... [a] simply astonishing level of authenticity in sound, look and mood. ... This terrific show—a triumphant revision, Chicago-style—deserves to be a huge hit for TimeLine" — Chicago Tribune

"One of those Chicago productions that exults in the glory of the ensemble ... altogether remarkable ... in many ways better than the excellent Broadway edition ... Nabbing the rights to this play was a coup for TimeLine, but no theater could have done a finer job."
— Chicago Sun-Times


The History Boys features

"[TimeLine Theatre] has retained its commitment to intimate, literate theater aimed at those with serious, curious minds" — Chris Jones

Newcity cover featuring The History Boys

"The very fact that TimeLine Theatre managed to snag the rights for the Chicago premiere of Alan Bennett's The History Boys says a great deal about this company. But it certainly should come as no surprise."

"In spite of my desire to perform, I took myself and the world fairly seriously. These students, by and large, are much more confident personally and precocious intellectually than I was."

The History Boys Study Guide

The History Boys - Study Guide

Download the comprehensive Study Guide (PDF)
prepared by dramaturg Maren Robinson. This 43-page guide includes extensive information about the literary and historical references present throughout The History Boys and a translation of the French used in the play, plus much more.
Updated November 2011

About The History Boys

The recipient of more than 30 major awards, including Tony and Olivier awards for Best New Play, The History Boys follows a rambunctious group of clever young men as they pursue higher learning, games, sexual identity and a place at university under the guidance of three wildly different teachers and a headmaster obsessed with results. Set during the 1980s in northern England, it is a hilarious and provocative play about the anarchy of adolescence and the purpose of education — specifically, how history should be taught.

The History Boys premiered in London at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton Theatre in May 2004. It played to sell-out audiences for an extended run before touring to Hong Kong, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia in 2006. The play premiered on Broadway in April 2006 and received six Tony Awards. It has also been adapted into a feature film.

Artistic Director PJ Powers comments:
“Alan Bennett's provocative script tackles essential questions we regularly grapple with as we explore TimeLine’s unique mission — ‘how do we benefit by dissecting, studying and examining history?’” Powers said. “Whether audiences have seen this production in London, on Broadway or on film, or are coming to it for the first time, The History Boys will have a fresh and powerful impact at TimeLine’s intimate theater.”

The History Boys

About TimeLine Theatre

TimeLine Theatre Company is a Chicago theater company dedicated to presenting stories inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues. TimeLine Theatre brings Chicago theater audiences provocative work that engages, educates, entertains and enlightens. Founded in 1997 and located in Chicago's Lakeview East neighborhood, TimeLine is the recipient of 37 Jeff Awards, which signify excellence in Chicago theatre. TimeLine Theatre is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres and Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the American theatre.