Matthew Kelly and David Yelland to star in UK Tour of Alan Bennett's THE HABIT OF ART


The Original Theatre Company and York Theatre Royal will present the first ever revival of Alan Bennetts THE HABIT OF ART directed by Philip Franks and starring Matthew Kelly as W. H. Auden/Fitz and David Yelland as Benjamin Britten/Henry.  The tour begins on 30 August 2018 at York Theatre Royal.

Matthew Kelly
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 Bennetts 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 Kellys West End credits include Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellan and Roger Rees, Tim Firths play Sign of the Times, the musical Lend Me A Tenor! and Lennie in the Birmingham Repertory Theatres 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 (Regents Park Open Air Theatre & UK Tour), The Jew Of MaltaVolpone and Loves Sacrifice for the RSC, and Toast (Park Theatre & 59E59 in New York).  Matthews 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
David Yellands most recent theatre credits include Witness for the Prosecution (London County Hall), A Winters Tale (Shakespeares 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 CopperfieldNick Rumpole in Rumpole of the Bailey, George in Agatha Christies PoirotEastEnders, The Crown and Endeavour.  Film credits include Coriolanus (directed by Ralph Fiennes), Field Marshal Haig in Michael MorpurgoPrivate Peaceful and The Prince of Wales in Chariots of Fire.

Philip Franks is an award-winning director and has directed shows at the National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, the Open Air Theatre Regents Park, the Edinburgh International Festival, and in the West End.  As an actor, Philip Franks has worked at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, in the West End and on Broadway, as well as in most of the countrys leading regional theatres. He is well known for his television work such as Bleak House, Martin Chuzzlewit, Heartbeat and The Darling Buds of May. 

The 2018 Tour of THE HABIT OF ART will be directed by Philip Franks and designed by Adrian Linford, with lighting by Johanna Town.

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Running Time:  2 hours, 20 minutes (including interval)

Suitable for 12+


30 August - 8 September             York Theatre Royal                                                     01904 623568
                                                                                  On sale 29 March

11-15 September                         Theatre Royal Brighton                                               0844 871 7650
                                               On sale 6 April

17-22 September                         Salisbury Playhouse                                                   01722 320 333
                                                                               On sale soon

1-6 October                                 Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford                             01483 44 00 00
                                                                                   On sale soon

8-13 October                               New Wolsey, Ipswich                                                  01473 295900
                                                                                     On sale 14 April

15-20 October                             Richmond Theatre                                                      0844 871 7651
                                                      On sale 6 April

6-10 November                            Belgrade Theatre, Coventry                                       024 7655 3055
                                                                                             On sale soon

12-17 November                          The Lowry, Salford                                                     0843 208 6000
                                                                                                On sale 6 April

19-24 November                          Palace Theatre, Southend                                          01702 351135
                                                                       On sale soon
Further dates to be added