The Habit of Art is as much about the theatre as it is about poetry or music. Benjamin Britten, sailing uncomfortably close to the wind with his new opera Death in Venice, seeks advice from his former collaborator and friend, W.H. Auden. During this imagined meeting they are observed and interrupted by, among others, their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station. The play looks at the unsettling desires of two difficult men, the ethics of biography, creativity and inspiration, growing old, and on persisting when all passion is spent.
Alan Bennett reads from his introduction to the Faber-published text of the play, before answering a barrage of questions from the audience about the play, and about his life and work to date.