Matthew Kelly


Photo: Harry Borden


Simon Beresford

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Burn, Burn, Burn Dir: Chanya Button


The Dresser Dir: Terry Johnson
Theatre Royal Bath & UK Tour
BIG, The Musical Dir: Morgan Young
Dominion Theatre
The Habit of Art Dir: Phillip Franks
Original Theatre, UK Tour
The Box of Delights Dir: Justin Audibert
Wilton's Music Hall
Desire Under The Elms Dir: Sam Yates
Crucible Theatre
Pride & Prejudice Dir: Deborah Bruce
Open Air Theatre Regents Park & UK Tour
Toast Dir: Eleanor Rhode
Rose Theatre, UK Tour & 59E59 Theater New York
The Jew Of Malta Dir: Justin Audibert
Love's Sacrifice Dir: Matthew Dunster
Volpone Dir: Trevor Nunn
Toast Dir: Eleanor Rhode
Park Theatre
Kafka's Dick Dir: David Grindley
Theatre Royal Bath
Twelfth Night Dir: Gemma Bodinetz
Liverpool Everyman
To Sir, With Love Dir: Mark Babych
Royal & Derngate Theatre & UK Tour
The History Boys Dir: Michael Longhurst
Sheffield Crucible
God of Carnage Dir: Patrick Sandford
Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
The Seagull DIr: Russell Bolam
Southwark Playhouse
Educating RIta Dir: Tamara Harvey
Menier Chocolate Factory, Theatre Royal Bath & Edinburgh
Legally Blonde Dir: Jerry Mitchell
UK Tour
Buried Child Dir: Paul Kerryson
Leicester Curve
Waiting For Godot DIr: Sean Mathias
Theatre Royal Haymarket, International Tour
Spamalot Dir: Mike Nichols
West End
Sign Of The Times Dir: Peter Wilson
Duchess Theatre
Lend Me A Tenor Dir: Ian Talbot
Gielgud Theatre
The Comedians Dir: Sean Holmes
Lyric Hammersmith
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Dir: Andrew Hall
Trafalgar Studios
Troilus & Cressida Dir: Matthew Dunster
Shakespeare's Globe
Victory Dir: Amelia Nicholson
Arcola Theatre
Amadeus Dir: John Doyle
Wilton's Music Hall
Of Mice & Men Dir: Jonathan Church
Birmingham Rep
Mirandolina Dir: Jonathan Munby
Manchester Royal Exchange
Forgotten Voices Dir: Malcolm McKay
Riverside Studios
Wizard of Oz Dir: Nigel West
Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
Oh What A Lovely War Dir: Mark Babych
Bolton Octagon
Endgame Dir: Lucy Pitman Wallace
Liverpool Everyman
Don Quixote Dir: Chris Bond
Birmingham Rep
Twelfth Night Dir: Patrick Mason
UK Tour
Season's Greetings Dir: Alan Ayckbourn
Birmingham Rep & UK Tour
Taming of The Shrew Dir: Peter Dayson
Stafford Festival
Kafka's Dick Dir: Damian Cruden
York Theatre Royal
Rough Crossing Dir: Joanna Read
Salibury Playhouse & Watford Palace
The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari Dir: Martin Duncan
Nottingham Playhouse & Lyric Hammersmith
Waiting For Godot Oxford Playhouse
Twelfth Night Birmingham Rep
Funny Peculiar Dir: Alan Dosser
West End / Liverpool Everyman
Blue Remembered Hills Dir: Rory Baskerville
Octagon Theatre, Bolton
The Surprise Party Dir: David Taylor
Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
Of Mice & Men Dir: Mike Kaye
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Black Comedy & The Private Ear Dir: Kim Grant
Bill Kenwright Ltd
Babes In Arms Dir: Roger Redfearn
The Pied Piper Dir: Alan Cohen
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Dir: Ken Hill
Young Vic Theatre


Top Of The Box Channel 5
Impressions of Fame (Pilot) Dir: Ben Palmer
Happy Tramp / BBC2
M.I. High Dir: Adrian McDowall
Moving On Dir: Noreen Kershaw
Benidorm Dir: John Henderson
Tiger Aspect
Casualty Dir: Reza Moradi
Kudos / BBC
Cold Blood Dir: Stuart Orme
Granada TV
Where The Heart Is Dir: Paul Norton Walker
Miss Marple: The Sittafield Mystery Dir: Paul Unwin
Celebrate Oliver! Dir: Richard Valentine
Bleak House Dir: Susanna White
Egypt Dir: Ferdinand Fairfax
Doctors Dir: Christopher Timothy
Last Of The Summer Wine Dir: Alan J.W. Bell
Relative Strangers Dir: Nic Phillips
Channel 4
Holding The Fort Dir: Derrick Goodwin
Funny Man Dir: Alan Dossar
Thames Television


Oliver Award Winner - Best Actor 2004

Royal Television Award for Best Performer in a Drama
Silver Medal - New York International Programming Awards

MIND Media Award 2011



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★★★★☆  MATTHEW KELLY and DAVID YELLAND are on top form heading an ensemble who highlight the way that art is both magical and mundane: that everything is provisional, everything is a process, be it writing or acting or composing or love or friendship. This first revival of Bennett’s follow-up to The History Boys shows it to have wild amounts of resonance and heart, clarity as well as cleverness. And plenty of laughs. It’s a hell of a tightrope walk, but Philip Franks’s production makes it look easy. Ambitious, revealing and hugely entertaining.
Dominic Maxwell, The Times

★★★★☆ The two great men are superbly rendered by MATTHEW KELLY as the veteran “Fitz” who becomes Auden, and DAVID YELLAND as the more restrained Henry who is being Britten.  Kelly’s Auden is rubicund and scruffy, sexually and reputationally reckless but a great and open heart, pining for his ever-unfaithful partner Chester.  Yelland gives Britten all his precise, tweedy nervousness and buttoned-down, closeted yearning for boyish beauty and innocence. 
Libby Purves, Theatre Cat

★★★★★The production boasts a stellar ensemble cast, led by MATTHEW KELLY and DAVID YELLAND. Kelly portrays Fitz/WH Auden, both grappling with the struggles of ageing minds and bodies, with fierceness and sensitivity. He delivers Bennett’s pithy dialogue with a nuanced command of tone that transforms what could be taken as inane rambling into colourful monologues that you can’t turn your gaze from. DAVID YELLAND is similarly engaging as Henry/Benjamin Britten. His Britten is delicate and tight-lipped, a completely believable mixture of palpable repression, fragile ego and quiet warmth. In Henry we see reflected the same qualities, with Yelland bringing out more warmth and less ego.  “The Habit of Art”, while often touted as a meeting of two of Britain’s great artists, goes far beyond a simple portrayal of two characters. It is first and foremost a play of resonant themes, exploring art, ageing, legacy and heartache. Philip Franks and a captivating cast bring these themes to life in a way which is at times hilarious, at others moving, but always deeply human. Thought-provoking and expertly played, this is not a production to be missed.
Sarah Ryan, Broadway World

★★★★★ MATTHEW KELLY is remarkable as Fitz/Auden. Somehow he morphs in an instant between the eloquent, subversive and ever-curious poet into the irritable, vulnerable actor barking for a prompt.  The interplay between MATTHEW KELLY and DAVID YELLAND as Henry/Britten works beautifully. Yelland portrays Britten as a fidgeting neurotic wrapped in the half-smile of decorum. But underneath there lies a large and fragile ego. When Auden punctures his artistic pretension by claiming Britten’s musical inspirations are not classical and high-minded but his lust for boys, Yelland’s repressed white-knuckle rage is palpable. Funny and tender by turns, you feel for the man – both men – and their jointly-owned self-doubt.
Chris Titley, York Mix

★★★★★ Philip Franks’s unshowy direction is text-true, his cast uniformly stunning. MATTHEW KELLY and DAVID YELLAND brilliantly essentialise Auden and Britten.
Clare Brennan, The Observer.


“Bean’s characters are soft as baps under their tough crusts, and get superb turns…especially Matthew Kelly’s dough-spattered veteran, stumbling into his break like a yeti emerging from the flour bins” - David Jays (The Sunday Times)

“And it’s wonderful simply to watch Matthew Kelly, as the jowly slow-witted old-timer Nellie, whose wife rations him to 20 cigarettes a week, masticating his way unhurriedly through a sandwich. He a’int nothing but a hangdog” - Dominic Maxwell (The Times)

“That superb actor Matthew Kelly is mesmerising as old Nellie, a broken-down employee of the factory battered into submission by years of hard graft and a wife who only allows him one packet of cigarettes a week. He movingly captures the sheer weariness and almost childlike simplicity of the man, and there are long passages when he just sits vacantly in his chair during breaks in his shift but nevertheless proves both mesmerising and poignant. With his baker’s hat and battered face, he puts one in mind of Rembrandt’s ruthlessly honest late self-portraits. You can’t take your eyes off him.” - Charles Spencer (The Daily Telegraph)

“In this revival, Matthew Kelly is excellent as the ponderous, shambling Walter - the old-timer who has worked at the plant since he was 14. Alone on the set at the play’s crisis point, he creates a mood of tense panic with just his wordless cries. ” - Caroline Crampton (The Arts Desk)

“And stuck in the middle is Matthew Kelly’s wonderful, docile, rubbery-featured portrait of a sad old lifer, glumly contemplating his cheese sarnies, whose idea of the other side of the world is Grimsby.” - Michael Coveney (

“That goes double for the excellent Matthew Kelly’s pitiable Nellie. A burnt-out husk of a man, he’s been working 80-hour-weeks for 40 years and it’s left him a competent bread mixer and a barely functional human being, communicating with his younger workmates in a series of vague grunts and pained expressions. The human end result of industrialisation, he’s more the group mascot than an actual person” - Andrzej Lukowski (Timeout)



Height: 6'5"
Eye Colour Blue
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