The world premiere of the stage version of To Sir, With Love, a co-production by Royal & Derngate Northampton and the Touring Consortium Theatre Company, opened in Northampton before touring to nine venues across the country. It arrives on the Oxford Playhouse stage from Tuesday 19 to Saturday 23 November, the production features Award-winning actor, Matthew Kelly, in the part of headmaster, Florian.
Based on E R Braithwaite’s autobiography and brilliantly adapted by Ayub Khan Din (East Is East), To Sir, With Love is the story of Ricky Braithwaite, an ex-RAF fighter pilot and Cambridge graduate who arrives in London in 1948 and discovers the reality of life as a black man in post-war England. Taking the only job he can get, Ricky begins his first teaching post, in a tough but progressive East End school run by the enlightened headmaster Florian.
The determined new teacher, supported by his headmaster, turns teenage rebelliousness into self respect, contempt into consideration and hate into love – and on the way, Ricky himself learns that he has more in common with his students than he had realised.
Made into a major film in 1967 starring Sidney Poitier and featuring a song made famous by Lulu, this new stage adaptation is peppered with the songs and dance of the late 40’s; a time of austerity where love, inspiration and hope win through against all the odds.
Matthew Kelly plays Florian, a character based on Alex Bloom, the revolutionary headteacher of St George’s secondary school in Stepney which employed the real life E R Braithwaite. He joins Ansu Kabia, a regular with the Royal Shakespeare Company, as Ricky. The cast also includes Mykola Allen, (Land Girls, BBC) and Nicola Reynolds (BBC3 sitcom Ideal).
The professional cast are joined by eight local teenagers, cast in open auditions, who play the parts of additional pupils in Braithwaite’s class.
To Sir, With Love is at the Oxford Playhouse from Tuesday 19 to Saturday 23 November
Box Office: 01865 305305 or online: www.oxfordplayouse.com