09-14 May, 2005.
Project Arts Centre
Dublin Gay Theatre Festival,
The Actors Circle presents.
New Boy is a sparkling coming of age comedy-drama set in the 1980’s –
“stand up virgin schoolboys” as it were.
The play premiered in 2000 to great acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe. The
Scotsman at the time gave it 5 stars and made it their critics choice
calling it “compelling, fast, funny, scintillating”. Since then it has
gone on to have successful runs both on the London fringe and
An intimate piece featuring only 5 actors the play deals with all of the
universal adolescent worries: feelings of inadequacy, pressures to reach
potential and all of the axieties and embarrassments related to sex. The
Guardian described it thus: ” Adolescent desire, burgeoning sexuality,
loss of virginity and cross-generational sex, all deftly handled in a
The play is based on the best selling novel by William Sutcliffe adapted
by the BBC’s Russell Labey who last year scored another big hit at the
Edinburgh Fringe with Hardcore. The story centres on gawky seventeen year
old Mark who is anxious to get his sex life jump-started. When the “new
boy” Barry (the face of an angel, the body of a god – and the name of a
plasterer) begins classes at Mark’s all boys school the two quickly become
fast friends. This new relationship allows Mark the opportunity to
experience his hormonal aspirations vicariously through Barry’s exploits
as Barry has no problems seducing members of the opposite sex – be it the
students of the neighbouring girls school, or members of the faculty!!
Through it all, the two boys develop a very close bond that could
ultimately change the course of their lives.
The piece is well-structured, witty and often downright hilarious. The
scenes are touching, funny and sometimes painful as your worst juvenile
fears are played out on stage. New Boy has one of the best opening
monologues of any modern theatre piece.
As with my production of Personals last year I have picked this piece
for the festival as it is that rare thing – a gay play with a feel-good
factor. It’s ultimate theme – that we shouldn’t let sex and sexuality
become such a big deal is communicated more effectively than in most
“issue-based” plays simply by being raised so unfussily. This theme and
the play itself should appeal to a wide audience (gay and straight) and
should appeal to an Irish audience because lets be honest – we were all
confused about sex when we were teenagers!!
The plays setting in the 1980s gives it a delighful charm and should
highlight our changing attitudes to homosexuality from 1985 to 2005. As
with last years production the piece will be bright, fast, well acted and
most importantly entertaining. The Actors’ Circle is keen when producing
any piece with a gay theme to move away from the often austere and gloomy
gay theatre of the past and present a view of gay life which is both
fulfilling and enjoyable. A view of gay life which hopefully the gay
community will respond to as reflecting its own experience and the wider
audience will see as positive and enhancing. For these reasons we are very
excited to be presenting New Boy at this years festival and look forward
to building on both the great success and the great experience of last
Mark Pollard (Director)
Written by William Sutcliffe
Adapted by Russell Labey
Dublin Gay Theatre Festival
The Actors Circle