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Matthew Kelly to star in Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art

The play will tour the UK from September 2018

Alan Bennett's The Habit Of Art starring Matthew Kelly to tour UK

The Original Theatre Company, York Theatre Royal, and Ghost Light Productions are bringing The Habit Of Art to tour the UK with Matthew Kelly cast as Fitz (W. H. Auden).

Directed by Philip Franks, starring alongside Matthew Kelly will be David Yelland as Henry (Benjamin Britten). Veronica Roberts will take the role of Kay, the Stage Manager. Her recent theatre credits include Mrs Gascoyne in The Daughter-in-Law (Arcola), Joy Bray in 49 Donkeys Hanged (Plymouth), and Marina in Uncle Vanya (Theatr Clwyd/Sheffield Crucible). She is perhaps best known for playing Dorothy Bennett in the BBC drama Tenko and Laura Elliot in ITV’s Peak Practice.

Robert Mountford plays the Author, Neil. His one man show Vagabonds – My Phil Lynott Odyssey has recently played in Edinburgh, London and Dublin, and he has just finished House and Garden at the Watermill Theatre and Anita and Me for Birmingham Rep. Robert has also toured extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The play explores friendship, rivalry and heartache, the joy, pain and emotional cost of creativity.  It is centred 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.

The Habit Of Art - The Original Theatre Company

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 Cadell.

For more information visit


30 August – 8 September             Theatre Royal York                                                     01904 623568


11-15 September                         Theatre Royal Brighton                                               0844 871 7650


17-22 September                         Salisbury Playhouse                                                   01722 320 333


24-29 September                         Oxford Playhouse                                                       01865 305 300                                         On sale soon


3-6 October                                 Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford                             01483 44 00 00                                         On sale soon


8-13 October                               New Wolsey, Ipswich                                                  01473 295900


15-20 October                             Richmond Theatre                                                      0844 871 7651


23-27 October                             Liverpool Playhouse                                                   0151 709 4776


29 October – 3 November           Cambridge Arts Theatre                                             01223 503333                                  On sale soon


6-10 November                            Belgrade Theatre, Coventry                                       024 7655 3055


12-17 November                          The Lowry, Salford                                                     0843 208 6000


19-24 November                          Palace Theatre, Southend                                          01702 351135

27 November – 1 December        Malvern Theatres                                                       01684 892277


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