To Sir with Love 1

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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. Despite his first class degree in electronic engineering, he is turned down for job after job in his chosen profession 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 like our own 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 Ricky. Matthew Kelly is one of the UKs best-loved actors. Winner of an Olivier Award for the Touring Consortium’s production of Of Mice and Men, he has been widely acclaimed for television and theatre performances including Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellen, Troilus and Cressida at The Globe and his shattering performance in the TV drama Cold Blood. He joins Ansu Kabia as Ricky.

Matthew Kelly is Patron of The Touring Consortium Theatre Company.

★★★★
Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Telegraph, The Times

“elicits a tear or two and has a heart”
“charmed and moved by a classic tale of good defeating rough ignorance”
“Ansu Kabia… brings a quiet dignity to the central role”
“in Mr Kabia it has a rising talent”
Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

superbly played”
“Khan-Din’s script is funny and tough”
“beautifully told”
Neil Norman, Daily Express

“Chalk it up as a hit.”
“Ayub Khan Din’s sharply scripted adaptation”
“directed with lively panache by Mark Babych”
Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph

“the director Mark Babych keeps a vigorous young ensemble on the move”
“the play’s heart is in the right place, its sense of period fascinating”
Libby Purves, The Times

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