The Lady in the Van

She came for 3 weeks and stayed 15 years.

This remarkable play by Alan Bennett draws on his experience of playing “landlord” to the equally remarkable Miss Shepard.

Miss Shepard, a “genteel” turned vagrant, completely eccentric, fiercely intelligent but very smelly lady ended up staying in her broken down and unroadworthy old van on Alan Bennett’s driveway in Camden for a total of fifteen years.

The lady in the van had no friends, but she did have a neighbour, and that neighbour was a writer. This experience could be described as manna from heaven for Alan Bennett as Miss Shepard’s compelling life-story unfolds. His bittersweet side-splittingly funny and in parts very sad play, is, without doubt a must-see.

His account of those fifteen years was first published in 1989 in the London Review of Books. The play premièred in 1999, directed by Nicholas Hytner and starred Dame Maggie Smith, who both reprised their roles in the 2015 film adaptation.

“No one knew her well,” said Alan Bennett of the lady who lived for 15 years in a van outside his house. “Even I didn’t know her well. But I knew what she was like.”

Woodford Players are very excited to be staging this wonderful play and look forward to welcoming you to their performances.

The flipbook version of the show programme is here.

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