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Full Casting Announced for Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art

Posted on 14 June 2018

Full casting has been announce for the first ever revival of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art directed by Philip Franks. Starring Matthew Kelly as Fitz (W. H. Auden) and David Yelland as Henry (Benjamin Britten), this exciting new production comes to the Belgrade from Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 October 2018.

Veronica Roberts will be joining the cast in 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.

John Wark will play Donald (Humphrey Carpenter). His theatre work includes Dead Sheep (UK Tour & Park Theatre), Toast (UK Tour, 59E59 New York & Park Theatre), The Cocktail Party (The Print Room), Keepers of Infinite Space (Park Theatre), Thark (Park Theatre), and The Fear of Breathing (Finborough Theatre).

Alexandra Guelff plays the role of George, the Assistant Stage Manager. Her recent theatre credits include Witness for the Prosecution (London County Hall), Gaslight (Royal Derngate), Ghosts (Trafalgar Studios), and The Busy Body (Southwark Playhouse). She has also appeared in Call The Midwife (BBC), Law & Order (ITV), and EastEnders (BBC).

Benjamin Chandler has been cast as Tim (Stuart). His previous credits include The Passing Of The Third Floor Back (Finborough Theatre) and Three Sisters (The Union Theatre).

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.

After premiering at the National Theatre in November 2009, directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Richard Griffiths, Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour, The Habit of Art then toured in Autumn 2010 with a new cast led by Desmond Barrit, Malcolm Sinclair and Selina Cadell.

Tickets for The Habit of Art are available on our website.

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

Suitable for 12+