The History Boys is a play by Alan Bennett.
The play opened at the Lyttelton Theatre in London on 18 May 2004, and, following its sell-out opening run, the production was revived in 2005 prior to a national tour in the United Kingdom. A film with the entire original cast was made in the summer of 2005. The play toured to Hong Kong in February 2006 and featured in the 2006 New Zealand International Arts Festival held in Wellington (Feb 2006). It opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway on April 23, 2006 with the original London cast.
The original London production won three 2005 Olivier Awards, for Best New Play, Best Actor (Richard Griffiths), and Best Direction (Nicholas Hytner).
The New York production won five Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Actor in a Play (Richard Griffiths), Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Samuel Barnett), Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play (Frances de la Tour) and Outstanding Direction of a Play (Nicholas Hytner). It also won four 2006 Outer Critics Circle Awards, for Outstanding Broadway Play, Outstanding Direction of a Play, and Outstanding Featured Actor and Actress in a Play for Griffiths and de la Tour.
The History Boys was also nominated for seven 2006 Tony Awards, of which it won six: best play, best director of a play, best featured actress, best actor, best set design of a play, and best lighting design of a play .
The action takes place in a boys' grammar school in the north of England in the 1980s as a group of history students prepare for Oxbridge entrance examinations under the guidance of two teachers with contrasting styles.
The play blends both comedy and tragedy, with multiple layers and themes, including growing up, the wider purpose of education in adult life, pederasty, teaching methods, homosexuality, and the English education system.
The play was published in 2004 (ISBN 0571224644).
A film version of the play is slated to be released in 2006, directed by Hytner and featuring the stage cast.