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When Mary Shepherd parked her home (a van) on a street in a trendy part of London no-one knew what to expect. She was cranky, smelly, infuriating and gloriously indomitable. The neighbours complained, but one took a particular interest and invited her to move her van onto his driveway where she remained for 15 years until her death in 1989. That neighbour was the renowned playwright Alan Bennett.
As the plastic bags increase and the years pass, something takes root in the cracks in the driveway and magically, it blossoms. Through Miss Shepherd’s bizarre escapades, from her letter to the Argentinian Embassy at the height of the Falklands War, to her attempts to stand for Parliament (‘When I’m elected,’ she said to Bennett, ‘do you think I shall have to live in Downing Street or could I run things from the van?’), Bennett uncovers Miss Shepherd’s fascinating history.
The story of The Lady in the Van was one of the film hits of 2015, but the power of Bennett’s original play, staged in the intimacy of the theatre cannot be beaten. Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.