Master Harold… and the boys

Master Harold… and the boys

National Theatre · 21 SEP - 17 DEC

1950. Apartheid South Africa.

“This is a "searing" and "spellbinding" evening that delves into the racism at the heart of Apartheid South Africa. It is based on a moment in playwright Athol Fugard's life that shames him to this day. The play explores the relationship he had as a young white man with two black men who were like family to him - and the day he met that love with contempt and condescension.”


St George's Park Tea Room, Port Elizabeth, 1950. On a long rainy afternoon, employees Sam and Willie practice their steps for the finals of the ballroom dancing championship.

Hally arrives from school to hide out in his parents’ tea room. These two men have been unlikely best friends to Hally his whole life. But it is apartheid era South Africa: he’s Master Harold, and they are the boys.

Tony Award-winning playwright Athol Fugard’s semi-autobiographical and blistering masterwork explores the nature of friendship, and the ways people are capable of hurting even those they love.

Critic reviews

Its message about the corrosive effects of racism on human relationships feels as searing and urgent as it did when it was first performed


Passionate revival is an indictment of racism in the none-too-distant past

Evening Standard

Lucian Msamati powers this elegantly powerful revival of Athol Fugard's apartheid-era drama

Time Out

A powerful revival of Athol Fugard’s play featuring a star turn from Lucian Msamati

The Stage

A spellbinding affirmation of the need for humanity at the bleakest moments

The Telegraph

Athol Fugard's 1982 self-exorcism is searingly revived

The Arts Desk

The piece is sharp on memory and storytelling, what is buried and what is excavated, and how a twist can change perceptions of a story

Lyn Gardner for Stagedoor

Weise’s exemplary production draws out that tragedy

Financial Times

Athol Fugard’s play about apartheid from 1982 is wordy, but still packs a powerful ending

The Times

Athol Fugard’s masterly apartheid drama still shocks

The Guardian

A slow-burn initially, but it ignites with an overpowering power that is shattering

London Theatre

Date & time

Until 17 Dec
Sat 21 Sep - Tue 17 Dec, 2.15pm & 7.30pm


National Theatre
South Bank SE1 9PX London, UK · Get Directions
out of 5 stars
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