Play to be shown on 170 screens worldwide

Alan Bennett’s new play “The Habit of Art,” directed by National Theater a.d. Nicholas Hytner, will be filmed live and screened in 60 U.K. cinemas and a further 110 screens worldwide.

Centering on the poet W.H. Auden and composer Benjamin Britten, “Habit” stars Michael Gambon, Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour. De La Tour also starred in Hytner’s premiere production of Bennett’s Tony-winning international hit “The History Boys.”

The play is one of four included in the lineup of NT Live, the National’s initiative to broadcast performances onto movie screens in the manner that has proved successful for New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

Joining Bennett’s play and Hytner’s previously announced production of Racine’s tragedy “Phedre,” starring Helen Mirren (being screened June 25), are Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well,” with Clare Higgins (Oct. 1) and directed by Marianne Elliott, and, in early 2010, “Nation,” based on the Terry Pratchett novel and adapted by Mark Ravenhill.

The exact 2010 date for “Habit” has not yet been set.

NT Live is sponsored by nonbank foreign exchange and business payments company Travelex, the backer for the past seven years of the National’s £10 (about $15) ticket program, which shortly will sell its 1 millionth ducat.

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