"The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone who is even long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours."
The History Boys – Alan Bennett
Likewise, his play The History Boys (2004) was made into a film in 2006. The History Boys garnered both the Critics' Circle Theatre Award and the Laurence Olivier Award for best new play. Set in Yorkshire in the 1980s, the play featured a clash of values between two teachers coaching a class of state-school boys through their university entrance examinations. It succeeded both as a serious-minded critique of Britain's education system – then and now – and as a comic entertainment. A 2006 film version, which used the original London cast, appeared the same year of its debut on Broadway, the latter winning six Tony awards (see quote at beginning of post). This is an extraordinarily entertaining and enlightening film, which is available from Netflix. Note: about an hour of the play's running time was cut for the film version.
In 1987 Talking Heads, a series of monologues for television, made him a household name and earned him the first of six Lawrence Olivier Awards. He went on to write television, stage and radio plays, as well as screenplays, short stories, novellas and non-fictional prose. He also made many appearances as an actor.
At the National Theatre in late 2009 Bennett's newest play, The Habit of Art, premiered. It is about the relationship between gay poet W. H. Auden and gay composer Benjamin Britten. In 1997 Bennett was diagnosed with cancer and began writing biographical sketches, Untold Stories, which were eventually published in 2005. He wrote of his homosexuality and touched on a few relationships with women. While he had a long-term relationship with his former housekeeper, Anne Davies, he makes his home in London today with Rupert Thomas, the editor of World of Interiors magazine.
Bennett declined a knighthood in 1996. He stated that he would never wish to be knighted, because “it would be a bit like having to wear a suit for the rest of ones life.”
Role models of greatness.
Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.