Something funny at the bottom of this garden

Olivier award winner Nichola McAuiffe stars as the lady in the van in Alan Bennett's play of the same name

Olivier award winner Nichola McAuiffe stars as the lady in the van in Alan Bennett's play of the same name

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Alan Bennett has a very unusual neighbour. Parked at the bottom of his garden is a van. With a lady in it.

The highly acclaimed The Lady In the Van, written by Alan Bennett, is coming to the Grand Theatre from today until Saturday.

The lady in question is Miss Shepherd.

Alan knows very little about her. She used to drive ambulances in the war, might have been a nun, sells pencils and pamphlets and has an unexplained aversion to piano music.

But somehow she lives in the playwright’s garden and has done for years.

Alan Bennett is one of Britain’s best-loved playwrights, with plays including The History Boys, Talking Heads and The Madness of George III. His next play People will open at the National Theatre in October

The Lady in the Van stars Olivier Award winner Nichola McAuliffe, one of theatre’s most loved actresses. As well as playing Sheila Sabatini in seven series of ITV’s Surgical Spirit, Nichola won an Olivier for her role in Kiss Me Kate and was nominated for an Olivier for her performance in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

And of course the play would not be complete with Alan Bennett himself... or rather two of him. The two Alan Bennetts in The Lady in the Van are played by former Lytham St Annes actor Sean MacKenzie (seen in Birdsong and Downton Abbey) and Paul Kemp (Doctors, Life on Mars).

Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van is about one of the most unusual friendships you will ever see. Full of warmth and wit it is full of the one-liners that fans of the playwright have come to expect.

Hull Truck Theatre was first established in 1972, by legendary director Mike Bradwell.