Making his own history with star-studded CV at age of 21

Tom Rhys-Harries in rehearsals for The History Boys
Tom Rhys-Harries in rehearsals for The History Boys
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History Boy Tom Rhys-Harries has already worked with some big names and he’s only 21.

He appears at the Crucible in the revival of Alan Bennett’s play about youngsters from a Sheffield grammar school cramming for university entrance exams and the teachers who work with them.

He left the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff last year to play a rent boy in Torch Song Trilogy at London theatre the Menier Chocolate Factory.

He has also appeared in World War One drama Parade’s End, which starred Benedict Cumberbatch, and made a film called Hunky Dory with Minnie Driver.

Tom said of working with the Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness star Cumberbatch: “He is an amazing actor. He has a real sophisticated, clear understanding of his art. Working with him was a master class in acting, I thought.”

Tom has been in Serbia, filming Ironclad. He said: “I was playing a young prince, which was fun. I got to ride horses and do sword fighting. It’s an interesting country. The people are funny, sarcastic and dry. They have a similar humour to the British.”

In The History Boys he plays Dakin. Tom said: “He’s a lothario – he likes to think he is. He’s very confident and never been taken down a peg, one of those 18-year-olds who’s unstoppable and on this trajectory to take over the world.”

Asked if he was like Dakin, Tom said: “I wasn’t a lothario. I’m sure I’d have had more fun if I had been!”

Tom, who is a Welsh first language speaker, said it was important for the cast to try to nail the Sheffield accent. He said: “I love doing it but I’ve got a little bit of work to do.”

He added: “It’s a lovely city. I’ve never met such friendly people. ”

Despite the amazing start to his career, Tom was still awe-struck by the Crucible. He said: “It’s the biggest theatre I’ve played in, apart from the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, it’s my first proper theatre. It’s a big space!”

The History Boys is at the Crucible until Saturday June 8. Box office: 0114 2495000 or www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk