Master Harold ... and the boys

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Master Harold ... and the boys is a play by Athol Fugard (also written Master Harold and the boys or Master Harold...and the boys), based on an incident in the author's youth, dealing with the process of growing up in a racially divided society.


1982 Drama Desk Award Outstanding New Play 1983 London Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Play 1983 London Evening Standard Award for Best Play Nomination in 1982 Tony Award for Best Play

According to one poll, considered to be one of the 100 best English language plays of the 20th Century.

The play was selected as one of the best 100 plays of the 20th Century in the Times survey.

In 1998 Master Harold...and the boys was among the top 50 nominees in the Royal National Theatre poll of playwrights, actors, directors and other theatre professionals to select the 10 most significant English-language plays from the 20th century.

The original text

"Master Harold" ... and the boys published by Oxford paperbacks, 1983.

"Master Harold" ... and the boys in Selected Plays by Athol Fugard, Oxford University Press, 1987.

Master Harold-- and the boys, Cape Town: Oxford Univ Press, 1993.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Afrikaans by Idil Sheard with the title Master Harold en die Boys.

The play was also adapted for television and as a feature film.

Stage Productions

Premiére 1983

First produced in the USA at the Yale Repertory Theater, opening 12 March 1982. The original cast was Zeljko Ivanek as Hally, Zakes Mokae as Sam, and Danny Glover as Willie. When the production moved to Broadway Lonny Price was Hally. Glover later appeared in the Broadway revival in the role of Sam.

The South African premiére was at the Market Theatre in 1983, directed by Athol Fugard, assisted by Suzanne Shepherd with John Kani, Duarte Sylwain and Ramolao Makhene. This production was presented at the Baxter Theatre and the National Arts Festival in the same year.

Other South African productions



Directed by Damon Galgut, starring Jason Ralph (Hally), Makhaola Ndebele (Sam) and Zolanl Cata (Willie). In the Arena on the UCT Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town.


Rapulana Seiphemo was selected to direct this play during the Barney Simon Young Directors and Playwrights Festival, Market Theatre, 1998. Alastair Dube played Sam, Thulani Nyembe Willie and Johnny Barbuzano Harold.


Revived in 1999, directed by Roy Sargeant at the Baxter Theatre Sanlam Studio. Hally was played by Adam Pike, Willie by Vuyisile Pandle, Sam by Tshamano Sebe. Set and lighting design by Brian Collins, costume design by Phyllis Midlane. Stage manager Koos Marais.


Produced at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square starring Pakamisa Zwedala (Sam), Daniel Buckland (Harold), Nat Ramabulana (Willie).


Produced by Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre, in the Fugard Studio Theatre, 4th-30th March 2013. Directed by Kim Kerfoot (Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act) and designed by Julia Anastasopoulos (Champ). The troubled teenager, Hally, is played by newcomer Alex Middlebrook, who himself is in Grade 11 and comes to the Fugard Theatre by kind agreement with Reddam House. While he has been on stage several times before (Gilbert and Sullivan’s King and I, Fiddler on the Roof and Yeomen of the Guard) Master Harold ... and the Boys marks Alex’s professional debut to the Theatre.

Willie is played by UCT graduate Themba Mchunu (Door, Land of the Cranes) while Sam is played by the celebrated, veteran South African Actor Tshamano Sebe (Green Man Flashing, Jesus Hopped the A Train, District Six the Musical, The Piano Player, Stokvel, Generations). Sebe has previously played the character of Sam for which he won the Fleur du Cap Award for Best Actor in 1999.

The first professional presentation in Afrikaans was directed by Zane Meas starring Terence Bridgett, Christo Davids and Hennie Jacobs at Aardklop and the KKNK, 2013.


Produced by Eric Abraham and The Fugard Theatre in The Fugard Studio in celebration of The Fugard’s 10th birthday. The new production opened on 4 February, directed by Greg Karvellas with Kai Luke Brummer, Desmond Dube and Siya Mayola.

Filmed versions

1985 film

A television movie was produced in 1985, adapted by Athol Fugard, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg with stars, Matthew Broderick, Zakes Mokae, and John Kani.

2010 film

A filmed version of the play was produced in South Africa in 2009, starring Freddie Highmore as "Hally" and Ving Rhames as "Sam". The screenplay was written by Nicky Rebelo. The film was directed by Emmy Award-winning director Lonny Price (who had played Hally in the original Broadway cast) and produced by Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat, Mike Auret, Nelle Nugent and David Pupkewitz.


The Fugard Theatre website[1].

National Arts Festival programme, 1983.

KKNK programme, 29 March-6 April 2013.

Sunday Independent, 15 May 2011.

The Fugard Theatre website[2], accessed 05h42 on 22 January, 2020

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