Show History



Smike is a musical with a book by Simon May and Clive Barnett and music and lyrics by May and Roger Holman.  It is a loose adaptation of Charles' Dickens novel, Nicholas Nickleby.  The plot concerns a modern-day school, where a new English teacher gets a group of boys to become more invested in their learning by reenacting the source material.  The vast majority of the plot is an authentic staging of the novel, with the boys and teachers portraying various characters.

May is primarily known for his compositions on the soap opera, "EastEnders."  At the time of writing Smike, he and Barnett were both teachers at Kington Grammar School.  When May and Barnett decided to create a musicalized version of Nicholas Nickelby as a school project, May brought his writing partner, Holman, into the fold.


After being developed for grammar schools, the BBC took the musical and adapted it for the screen.  A filmed production was released in the Christmas season of 1973 that starred Beryl Reid, Ian Sharrock and Leonard Whiting.  Becoming an instant classic, Smike has gone on to be performed by countless schools and small theatre companies across the UK.  Among these venues are: St. Joseph's College in Nainital, India; Sands Theatre Arts School in Oxford; Mount Sion C.B.S. in Waterford, Ireland; and City of London Freeman's School.  In December 2005, the musical returned to its roots by mounting another production at the Kingston Grammar School.