The Lady in the Van

by Alan Bennett

2 February — 9 March 2019

Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse

In 1974 Alan Bennett befriended Miss Mary Shepherd, an eccentric, cantankerous and rather smelly old lady. She ‘temporarily’ parked her dilapidated van outside Bennett’s London home – and stayed for 15 years.

Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, including a 20-minute interval

Event Passed
This is rated 0 out of 5 stars

'Margolyes’ brilliant, cantankerous, all-conquering bag-lady is a force to be reckoned with, and sure to be one of the year’s stage highlights.'

The Age
This is rated 0 out of 5 stars

'Miriam Margolyes is irresistible'

Herald Sun
This is rated 0 out of 5 stars

'Margolyes is the undoubted star. She is extraordinary.'

Limelight Magazine

About the play

The Lady in the Van is a mostly true story of the fascinating relationship between the award-winning British writer and his long-term guest. Was she a fugitive on the run? A talented pianist? A nun? Or a lady who simply refused to move her van?

Touching, uplifting and heartbreakingly honest, The Lady in the Van is classic Alan Bennett. Share the fondness and frustrations of the legendary writer as he navigates life with a very peculiar tenant in this moving, bittersweet comedy.

Best-known for the celebrated 2015 film starring Maggie Smith, this incredible new stage production stars international icon Miriam Margolyes (I’ll Eat You Last) as Miss Shepherd and Matilda the Musical co-stars Daniel Frederiksen and James Millar as the dual Alan Bennetts, directed by Dean Bryant (An Ideal Husband).


Learn more about access services at MTC
  • Wheelchair Accessible

  • Hearing Assistance

  • Audio Described

  • Tactile Tour

  • Open Captioning

  • Auslan Interpreted

Performance Type Performance Date(s)
Audio Described Saturday 16 February at 2pm
Tuesday 19 February at 6.30pm
Tactile Tour Prior to the Saturday 16 February performance at 1pm
Open Captioning
via screen
Saturday 23 February at 2pm
Auslan Interpreted Saturday 2 March at 2pm
Artwork for Miriam Margolyes discusses the upcoming production <em>The Lady in the Van</em>.


Miriam Margolyes discusses the upcoming production The Lady in the Van.


Fiona Choi


Daniel Frederiksen

Daniel Frederiksen

Alan Bennett 1

Artwork for Claire Healy

Claire Healy

Social Worker / Pianist


Miriam Margolyes

Miss Mary Shepherd


James Millar

Alan Bennett 2

Artwork for Jillian Murray

Jillian Murray

Mam / Interviewer

Richard Piper

Richard Piper

Underwood / Leo Fairchild / Doctor


Dalip Sondhi


Dean Bryant

Dean Bryant



Alicia Clements

Set & Costume Designer

Matt Scott

Matt Scott

Lighting Designer


Mathew Frank

Composer & Sound Designer


Leith McPherson

Voice & Dialect Coach

Learn more about The Lady in the Van

Go Backstage


100 St Kilda Road

Melbourne , Victoria 3004