The Original Theatre Company and York Theatre Royal will present the first ever revival of Alan Bennett’s The Habit Of Art on tour.
The Habit Of Art will star Matthew Kelly as W.H. Auden/Fitz and David Yelland as Benjamin Britten / Henry. Thetour will be directed by Philip Franks, designed by Adrian Linford and lighting by Johanna Town.
The Habit Of Art explores friendship, rivalry and heartache, the joy, pain and emotional cost of creativity. It is centered on a fictional meeting between poet W. H. Auden and composer Benjamin Britten. Bennett wrote it as a play-within-a-play – actors Fitz, Henry, Tim and Donald are rehearsing a play called Caliban’s Day under the direction of stage manager, Kay, and in the presence of the playwright, Neil. In Caliban’s Day, a fictitious meeting occurs in 1973 in Auden’s (Fitz) rooms at Oxford not long before he dies. Britten (Henry) has been auditioning boys nearby for his opera Death in Venice, and arrives unexpectedly – their first meeting in 25 years after falling out over the failure of their opera Paul Bunyan.
Alan Bennett’s The Habit Of Art premiered at the National Theatre in November 2009, directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Richard Griffiths, Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour. The National then toured the production in Autumn 2010 with a new cast led by Desmond Barrit, Malcolm Sinclair and Selina Caddell.
Matthew Kelly’s West End credits include Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellan and Roger Rees, Tim Firth’s play Sign of the Times, the musical Lend Me A Tenor! and Lennie in the Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production of Of Mice and Men at the Savoy Theatre, for which he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor. Other recent theatre includes Pride & Prejudice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre & UK Tour), The Jew Of Malta, Volpone and Love’s Sacrifice for the RSC, and Toast (Park Theatre & 59E59 in New York). Matthew’s television work includes the award-winning thriller Cold Blood, Benidorm and Bleak House, though he is probably best known for presenting You Bet! and Stars in their Eyes.
David Yelland’s most recent theatre credits include Witness for the Prosecution (London County Hall), A Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare’s Globe), Taken at Midnight (Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatre Royal Haymarket). West End credits include Deathtrap (Garrick), The Deep Blue Sea (Haymarket), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Strand), Richard III (Savoy – for which he won the Clarence Derwent Award), Life x3 (Savoy) and Man and Boy (Duchess). His television credits include the title role in David Copperfield, Nick Rumpole in Rumpole of the Bailey, George in Agatha Christie’s Poirot, EastEnders, The Crown and Endeavour. Film credits include Coriolanus (directed by Ralph Fiennes), Field Marshal Haig in Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful and The Prince of Wales in Chariots of Fire.
Joining Matthew and David are Veronica Roberts as Kay the Stage Manager, Robert Mountford plays the author, John Wark will play Donald, Alexandra Guelff as George, and Benjamin Chandler as Tim.
THE HABIT OF ART TOUR
30 August – 8 September 2018
York Theatre Royal
11-15 September 2018
Theatre Royal Brighton
17-22 September 2018
1-6 October 2018
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford
8-13 October 2018
New Wolsey, Ipswich
15-20 October 2018
6-10 November 2018
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
12-17 November 2018
The Lowry, Salford
19-24 November 2018
Palace Theatre, Southend
Further dates to follow.
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