The Habit of Art stars Matthew Kelly

Olivier award-winning actor Matthew Kelly is leading the cast of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art, along with David Yelland.

The show was first performed nearly ten years ago at the Nation Theatre, and will embark on a new UK tour this year. Exciting stuff, right?

The play explores a fictional meeting between poet W H Auden and composer Benjamin Britten. Bennett originally wrote it as a play-within-a-play. Actors Fitz, Henry, Tim and Donald are rehearsing a play called Caliban’s Day, and 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.

It looks to me like it’s going to be pretty complex, but I’m sure extremely skilled and exciting. The show is directed by Philip Franks, who’s perhaps best known for his TV work such as Bleak House.

And of course this brings us two our leading men… if you don’t know Matthew Kelly from Stars in Their Eyes or You Bet, we’re going to have to have words. He’s also obviously an acclaimed actor, with his West End credits including Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellen and countless TV credits to his name. Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be starstruck… 

David Yelland is perhaps a more traditional actor, with a string of incredible theatre credits such as Witness for the Prosecution and A Winter’s Tale. He’s also starred in a number of film and television roles. 

Catch the show at York Theatre Royal from 30th August to 8th September.

Photograph credited to Michael Wharley

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