Monday, April 5, 2010

Bennett’s new play to be broadcast live from the stage

ALAN BENNETT’S highly-acclaimed new play, The Habit Of Art, will be broadcast live from the National Theatre to cinemas in Wales this month.
Directed by Nicholas Hytner, The Habit Of Art is the final play in the pilot season of NT Live, which sees the company’s productions screened at cinemas across the UK. It follows successful broadcasts of Ph├Ędre, All’s Well That Ends Well and Nation.
The Habit Of Art is as much about the theatre as it is about poetry or music. It looks at the unsettling desires of two difficult men – Benjamin Britten and WH Auden – and at the ethics of biography. It reflects on growing old, on creativity and inspiration, and on persisting when all passion’s spent.
Britten, sailing uncomfortably close to the wind with his new opera, Death in Venice, seeks advice from his former collaborator and friend, WH Auden.
During this imagined meeting, their first for 25 years, they are observed and interrupted by, among others, their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station.
The cast is led by Richard Griffiths as WH Auden, Alex Jennings as Benjamin Britten, Adrian Scarborough as Humphrey Carpenter and Frances de la Tour as Kay, the stage manager.
The Habit Of Art is Bennett’s fifth play for the National Theatre.
His last play, The History Boys, opened at the Lyttelton in 2004, toured nationally and internationally, played in the West End and on Broadway, and was adapted for the screen. Among its many awards were the Laurence Olivier, Tony and Critics Circle Awards for Best Play, and the South Bank Show Award for Theatre.
NT Live performances are filmed live at the National Theatre in high definition and broadcast via satellite to more than 80 UK cinemas, reaching a widespread audience from Guernsey to Aberdeen.
More than 250 cinemas abroad, including venues in the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Scandinavia and Europe, will also screen the performance, live in Europe and time-delayed in countries further afield.
The Habit of Art will be screened on April 22 at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Cineworld in Cardiff, Theatr Mwldan in Cardigan, Cineworld in Llandudno, Torch Theatre in Milford Haven, Blake Theatre in Monmouth, Cineworld in Newport and The Scala in Prestatyn.

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