Habit of Art and The Croft to share online run

Published: 24 March 2020
Reporter: David Chadderton

Matthew Kelly & David Yelland in The Habit Of Art Credit: Helen Maybanks
Gwen Taylor as Enid in The Croft Credit: Charlotte Graham
Caroline Harker as Suzanne, Lucy Doyle as Laura in The Croft Credit: Charlotte Graham

Original Theatre Company's productions of Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art and Ali Milles's The Croft, both cut short due to the closure of the theatres, will have a limited run online until June.

The Habit Of Art is directed by Philip Franks and stars Matthew Kelly as Fitz (W H Auden), David Yelland as Henry (Benjamin Britten), Veronica Roberts (Kay, the stage manager), Robert Mountford (Neil, the author), John Wark (Donald / Humphrey Carpenter), Jessica Dennis (George, the assistant stage manager) and Benjamin Chandler (Tim / Stuart).

The Croft is also directed by Franks and stars Gwen Taylor as Enid, Caroline Harker as Suzanne / Ruth, Drew Cain as David / Alec, Lucy Doyle as Laura / Eilene, Simon Roberts as Tom / Patrick.

The company has described the cancellation of the tours of these productions as "financially devastating" but has stated that it is determined, wherever possible, to meet financial commitments made to actors, stage managers and suppliers. They therefore have asked online viewers to pay what they can afford but have a suggested minimum donation of £2.50. In addition to the show, there will also be access to a programme and backstage videos as part of the package.

Alastair Whatley, Artistic Director of The Original Theatre Company, said, “gaining access to these films is an extraordinary opportunity that has been permitted by the kind permissions of our writers Alan Bennett and Ali Milles, the acting companies, stage managers and creative teams to allow us to share these with you as a way of saying a heartfelt thanks to you, our audiences, for helping sustain the Original Theatre Company and all those who work with us.

“We hope people who have booked tickets and are now unable to attend, along with many thousands of others, can now access these videos and enjoy two superb pieces of theatre in the comfort of their homes. Some small respite in these trying times.

“We want to encourage people to make their own in-house theatre experience. We will be making play-appropriate drink suggestions, suggestions of what people might wear to watch the productions, a fun code of conduct which amounts to ‘do whatever you like, as you are in your own house’, and ask people to share photos of their home theatre experience.”

The Habit Of Art will be launched online on Thursday 26 March at 8:15PM and The Croft on Friday 27 March at 7:30PM. The performances are available to pre-order now and will then be available to watch online until 2 June 2020.

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