The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

12/03/2015 - 21/03/2015

Production Details

By Alan Bennett

Stripey Live

The History Boys comes to The PumpHouse Theatre in March

Well-known stage play The History Boys, by Alan Bennett is being staged at The PumpHouse Theatre in Takapuna for the first time from 12 to 21 March 2015.

The play has enjoyed a prosperous past, with over 30 awards, including a Laurence Olivier Award and a Tony Award for Best Play.   Stripey Live produces this new production, with sponsorship from Takapuna-based PIC Insurance Brokers.

“With a cast of established New Zealand actors and emerging talent performing the work of one of Britain’s most prolific and acclaimed playwrights, this season of The History Boys is sure to be popular,” says the show’s director, Michelle Atkinson.

“I enjoyed the language and poetry in the play and Hector’s philosophy of inspiring life-long learning really resonated with me,” Michelle says.

This is the first time PIC Insurance Brokers have sponsored a live performance and General Manager Tony Mitchell says the company is excited.

“The Pumphouse Theatre is great asset for the North Shore and we felt with one of PIC’s branches right on its doorstep, it was a great opportunity to support the arts, broaden our sponsorship portfolio and say thanks to our North Shore clients,” he says.

Set during the 1980s in an English College the play explores the life of six school boys as they prepare for their final exams.  Their path is set by two opposing history teachers with competing beliefs, differing teaching ethos and the goal of entering a top university.

Venue:  The Pumphouse Theatre, Manurere Avenue, Takapuna
Dates:  Wednesday 11 March (preview) – Saturday 21 March 2015, No show Monday
Time:  All shows at 7:30pm, except a 4:00 pm Sunday matinee
Booking:  Phone 489 8360 or go to

Paul Norell:  Hector 
Denise Snoad:  Lintott 
Hamish Sealey:  Irwin 
Liam Herlihy:  Headmaster 
Craig Wilson:  Dakin 
Ryan Church:  Scripps 
Zachary Buckland:  Lockwood 
Ravi Guranathan:  Rudge 
Adel Abied:  Akthar 
Phillip Good:  Posner

Design:  Charissa McGrath
Technical Design:  Simon Woodard

Production Team
Stage Manager:  Natasha Lay 
Production Assistant:  Ryan Church 
Technical Operator:  Sean Zent 

Principal Sponsors:  PIC Insurance Brokers
The PumpHouse Theatre 

Theatre ,

Historic comedy and turmoil

Review by Kathryn van Beek 13th Mar 2015

The History Boys is an award-winning play by prolific British playwright, screenwriter and author Alan Bennett. Written in 2004 but set in the 1980s, the story follows the lives of seven high school history students as they prepare for their Oxford and Cambridge entrance exams. 

The boys are taught primarily by eccentric, literature-loving Hector (Paul Norell), who is at the end of his career, and the ambitious Irwin (Hamish Sealey) who is at the beginning his own. Hector and Irwin are both under pressure from the comically inept headmaster to achieve good results, but when Hector is caught getting up close and personal with the boys on his motorbike the history classes are plunged into turmoil.

Throw in a few high school crushes, teenage lothario Dakin (Craig Wilson) and more than a few hijinks, and you’ve got a recipe for an entertaining evening, to which director Michelle Atkinson adds a dash of class and a generous helping of local talent.

Paul Norell and Denise Snoad shine as the disarming Hector and the put-upon Lintott. The other actors each bring something special to the production, and because the play features quotes from so many films, novels and poems, they’re given the opportunity to showcase their singing, dancing and comic chops.

The PumpHouse Theatre itself is an adorable brick building with a surprisingly large theatre space inside. It’s situated on the lovely Lake Pupuke, so you can buy a coffee from the nearby café before the show and enjoy it from one of the benches overlooking the water. 

If you haven’t been to the theatre before, if you’re interested in literature and you like to support local talent, consider taking a trip to The History Boys.


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