NT Live: The Habit of Art

THE HABIT OF ART - A new play by Alan Bennett


JUST ANNOUNCED: Encore screenings by popular demand!

Cinema Nova, Carlton: May 20 and May 22

Sun Theatre, Yarraville: May 16

Orpheum Cremorne: May 17 and 18

Dendy Opera Quays: May 22

Chauvel Cinemas: May 19 and May 22

Narooma Cinemas: May 21

Palace Nova Eastend: May 20

Luna Cinemas: May 20

Luna SX: May 20

The 75-year-old playwright of The Madness of King George and The History Boys, and six time Tony Award winner, Alan Bennett teams with Nicholas Hytner to bring to the stage The Habit of Art.

Auden often said that metre and rhyme led him down unexpected paths to thoughts he wouldn’t otherwise have had, and in this respect versification and fornication are not so different.

Benjamin Britten, sailing uncomfortably close to the wind with his new opera, Death in Venice, seeks advice from his former collaborator and friend, W H Auden. During this imagined meeting, their first for twenty-five years, they are observed and interrupted by, amongst others, their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station.

You are a rent boy. I am a poet. Over the wall lives the Dean of Christ Church. We all have our parts to play.

Alan Bennett’s new play is as much about the theatre as it is about poetry or music. It looks at the unsettling desires of two difficult men, and at the ethics of biography. It reflects on growing old, on creativity and inspiration, and on persisting when all passion’s spent: ultimately, on the habit of art.

‘In the end,’ said Auden, ‘art is small beer. The really serious things in life are earning one’s living and loving one’s neighbour.’

View the trailer here

NT Live participating cinemas

DIRECTOR Nicholas Hytner

DESIGNER Bob Crowley LIGHTING DESIGNER Mark Henderson SOUND DESIGNER Paul Groothuis MUSIC Matthew Scott

"Another absolute cracker, often wonderfully and sometimes filthily funny, but also deeply and unexpectedly moving.. I can think of few plays that combine wild laughter, deep emotion and technical ingenuity with such bravura. The Habit of Art is a smash hit if ever I saw one." - Charles Spencer

"A richly thought-provoking piece… deft, amusing and so intelligentlyand generously crafted that it makes you feel clever just watching it.. Nicholas Hytner’s direction is a perfect match for Bennett’s charm, and the performances are a treat." - Christopher Hart

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May 17 and 18