Original Theatre Company releases Habit of Art and The Croft online
James R | On 31, Mar 2020
The Original Theatre Company has released Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art online after theatres across the UK have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bennett’s play depicts a meeting between the poet WH Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten. Exploring friendship, rivalry and heartache the multi layered masterpiece examines the joy, pain and emotional cost of creativity. Originally performed at the National Theatre, the Original Theatre Company’s production, directed by Philip Franks and starring Matthew Kelly, marks the first ever revival of the show.
The production, though, was dealt a serious blow by the coronavirus lockdown, preventing a national tour of the show and leaving the company trying to pay its cast and crew without any Arts Council support. The company has therefore turned to the web to release a recording of The Habit of Art online.
Also joining the production is a recording of The Croft by Ali Milles, directed by Franks and starring Gwen Taylor and Caroline Harker. The play is set in the remote village of Coillie Ghille in the Scottish Highlands, where three women from different time periods have their lives intertwined by the croft’s dark history.
The videos are being made available via VHX worldwide, with any amount able to paid by audiences, but with a minimum price of £5. That includes not only both plays but also a digital programme and backstage interviews with the cast and crew.
“We are determined, wherever possible, to meet our financial commitments made to our actors, stage managers and suppliers who are all dependent on us to survive the coming months,” said the company in a statement announcing the release.
“Every penny we make through this online release will go to the people who helped make this show who now find themselves in a hugely precarious financial position.”
The videos are available to watch online until 2nd June 2020. Find out more and watch both plays at www.originaltheatreonline.com.