First a book, a play and then a 2015 film starring Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van tells the true story of Alan Bennett’s strained friendship with Miss Mary Shepherd, an eccentric homeless woman whom Bennett befriended in 1974 before allowing her ‘temporarily’ to park her Bedford van in the driveway of his Camden home.

For Alan Bennett, charity truly began at home, but little did he know that she would remain there for fifteen years.


“One seldom was able to do her a good turn without some thoughts of strangulation”.


Gallery are proud to present the regional premiere of Alan Bennett’s wonderfully witty and poignant play about his relationship with an eccentric homeless lady parked on his drive in Camden.

The Lady in The Van centres on their extraordinary relationship, which for Bennett was a source of intrigue, frustration and compassion. The Lady in the Van is funny, poignant and in a climate where homelessness has struck record levels, inevitably topical. Every homeless person has their story.

As Alan Bennett very candidly admits, he and Miss Shepherd mutually benefitted from her presence; he provided her with a safe haven while she acted as his muse, providing endless humorous material with her rude interactions with the outside world.

Gallery have once again assembled a talented cast of local actors to stage this life affirming play.

Steve Wooldridge directs.

view show programme here.