Former Everyman Company actor Matthew Kelly returns to Liverpool with The Habit of Art at the Playhouse

Former Everyman Company actor Matthew Kelly returns to Liverpool with The Habit of Art at the Playhouse

by Culture Liverpool

One of the Everyman’s famous 1974 company is set to return to the stage in Liverpool, as Matthew Kelly performs in The Habit of Art at the Playhouse from 23-27 October.

The former Everyman Company member will play the lead role of Fitz alongside David Yelland in the role of Henry, in a play based around the fictional meeting of two great artists.

Written by The History Boys writer Alan Bennett – considered to be one of the UK’s greatest ever playwrights – The Habit of Art is a play-within-a-play directed by Philip Franks, centred on a fictional meeting between poet W. H. Auden and composer Benjamin Britten.

The Habit of Art follows actors Fitz, Henry, Tim and Donald as they rehearse for their production 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.

Exploring friendship, rivalry and heartache, the joy, pain and emotional cost of creativity, the full cast features Veronica Roberts as stage manager Kay, Robert Mountford as author Neil, John Wark as Donald, Alexandra Guelff as assistant stage manager George and Benjamin Chandler in the role of Stuart.

Gemma Bodinetz, artistic director of the Everyman & Playhouse, said: “The Habit of Art is a touching and hilarious masterpiece by one of the world’s great dramatists – Alan Bennett.

“Directed by the masterful Phillip Franks (who directed our Playhouse production of The Tempest) and starring alongside David Yelland one of our most celebrated “extended family” members Matthew Kelly, this is sure to be a production of a note and quality.”

The Habit of Art visits the Playhouse for seven performances from 23-27 October. Tickets are on sale now at: or by calling Box Office on 0151 709 4776.

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