Kelly heads cast of To Sir, With Love in Northampton

Published: 30 June 2013
Reporter: Steve Orme

Matthew Kelly is to play the part of headmaster Florian in To Sir, With Love, a co-production between Northampton’s Royal and Derngate and the Touring Consortium Theatre Company.

Based on E R Braithwaite’s autobiography and adapted by Ayub Khan Din, To Sir, With Love is the story of Ricky Braithwaite, an ex-RAF fighter pilot 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 teaches 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 learns he has more in common with his students than he realised.

The new stage adaptation is peppered with songs of the late 1940s—a time of austerity where love, inspiration and hope won through against the odds.

Matthew Kelly plays Florian who based on Alex Bloom, the revolutionary head teacher of St George’s secondary school in Stepney which employed the real life E R Braithwaite.

Kelly won an Olivier Award for the Touring Consortium’s production of Of Mice and Men.

Ansu Kabia, who was part of the Royal Shakespeare Company ensemble in 2010, will play Ricky.

To Sir, With Love takes to the Royal stage from 6 until 28 September before touring to nine venues across the country.