Wolverhampton Grand Theatre announced today that it will produce its third in-house production in 2020.

Having returned to its rich history of producing theatre after forty years with Brassed Off in 2017, Wolverhampton Grand theatre will continue its reputation of producing quality drama in the city with a new production of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys from 7 – 22 February 2020.

An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a place at university. A maverick English teacher at odds with the young and shrewd supply teacher and a headmaster obsessed with results… In Alan Bennett's classic play, staff room rivalry and the anarchy of adolescence provoke insistent questions about history and how you teach it; about education and its purpose.

The History Boys will be directed by Jack Ryder.

Jack Ryder is a theatre & film director and an actor. Most recently, he directed Tim Firth’s The Band, which became the fastest selling tour of all time before transferring to Theatre Royal Haymarket and a run in Germany.

Other theatre directing credits include: The Girls (associate director to Tim Firth, Phoenix Theatre); The Full Monty (director, UK Tour & associate director to Daniel Evans, Lyceum Theatre Sheffield/Noël Coward Theatre); Calendar Girls (director, UK Tour & assistant director, West End).

Film & TV directing credits include: Casualty (BBC); Dog (as writer/director); Act of Memory (Sky Arts, as writer/director).

As an actor, Jack is a household name, most loved for his portrayal of Jamie Mitchell in EastEnders from 1998 to 2002. Jack’s acting career spans across theatre, television and film. He can currently be seen as Evan Crowhurst in Holby City.

Jack Ryder said; “I’m very excited to begin work on The History Boys. For any director, it is an enormous privilege to direct a play by a writer so prolific as Alan Bennett. I look forward to creating something for the people of Wolverhampton, as well as others, in such a well respected and beautiful theatre.”

Alan Bennett was born in 1934 in Leeds. He has been one of the UK’s leading dramatists since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s. His television series Talking Heads has become a modern-day classic, as have many of his works for the stage including Forty Years On, The Lady in the Van (together with the screenplay), A Question of Attribution, The Madness of George III (together with the Oscar-nominated screenplay The Madness of King George), and an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows.

Alan wrote The History Boys which premiered at the National Theatre, London, in the Lyttelton Theatre in May 2004. The play transferred to Broadway in 2006 and having also toured the UK, returned to London opening in the West End in 2007. The History Boys (also a screenplay) won numerous awards including Evening Standard and Critics' Circle awards for Best Play, an Olivier for Best New Play and the South Bank Award. On Broadway, The History Boys won five New York Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics' Circle Awards, a New York Drama Critics' Award, a New York Drama League Award and six Tony Awards.

In addition to The History Boys, Alan’s other work at the National Theatre includes The Habit of Art which opened in 2009; in 2012, People, as well as the two short plays Hymn and Cocktail Sticks, was also staged there.

Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Wolverhampton Grand Theatre Adrian Jackson said; “I’m delighted we are able to continue the Grand Theatre’s producing legacy with Alan Bennett’s modern masterpiece. I am equally as thrilled to be working with Jack Ryder to realise a new vision of the play for Wolverhampton. Jack’s previous directorial work, The Full Monty and The Band have been audience favourites here at the Grand Theatre and are placed amongst our most successful productions. I look forward to working with Jack and my very talented team to bring our third in-house production to the stage.”

Full cast and creative team for THE HISTORY BOYS is to be announced soon.

Tickets for The History Boys from 7 – 22 February will be on sale to Friends of the Grand and members on Saturday 22 June at 10am online and 12pm by phone and at the Box Office. Public bookings open on Wednesday 26 June at 10am online and 12pm by phone and at the Box Office. Tickets can be bought online at grandtheatre.co.uk, by calling 01902 42 92 12 or in person at the Box Office.