OP Benjamin Chandler (00-10) is performing alongside Matthew Kelly and David Yelland in a national tour of Alan Bennett's play, The Habit Of Art.
The production by the Original Theatre Company, which opened at York Theatre Royal at the beginning of September, explores friendship, rivalry and heartache and the joy, pain and emotional cost of creativity.
It is centred on a fictional meeting between poet W. H. Auden and composer Benjamin Britten. Bennett wrote it as a play-within-a-play – actors Fitz (Kelly), Henry (Yelland), Tim (Chandler) and Donald are rehearsing a play called 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.
Benjamin (Chandler not Britten!) attended Pocklington School from the age of seven to 18 before going to RADA from where he graduated in 2015. It was during his time at RADA that Benjamin first worked with The Habit Of Art director Philip Franks on a final-year production of Howard Barker’s The Castle. He had a great time doing it even though he had a small part. He recalls Philip’s ability as a director to create a great atmosphere to work under, so he was happy to be reunited with him again for The Habit Of Art.
In addition to York, Alan Bennett’s The Habit Of Art is touring theatres in Brighton, Salisbury, Guildford, Ipswich, Richmond, Coventry, Salford and Southend, so do try and catch Benjamin performing if you can. For further details, please click here and to read a review issued in The Guardian’s Observer, please click here.
Head Shot of Benjamin Chandler: John Clarke (Photographer)
Production Shot of The Habit of Art produced by the Original Theatre Company: Helen Maybanks (Photographer)