Casting 7pm July 1st and 2pm July 4th 2021, Ewhurst Village Hall
The Lady in the Van is a 2015 British comedy-drama film directed by Nicholas Hytner, and starring Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings, based on the memoir of the same name created by Alan Bennett. It was written by Bennett, and it tells the (mostly) true story of his interactions with Mary Shepherd, an elderly woman who lived in a dilapidated van on his driveway in London for 15 years. He had previously published the story as a 1989 essay, 1990 book, 1999 stage play and 2009 radio play on BBC Radio 4. Smith had previously portrayed Shepherd twice: in the 1999 stage play, which earned her a Best Actress nomination at the 2000 Olivier Awards and in the 2009 radio adaptation.
The play requires a cast of 15, but the first three characters listed shoulder the lion’s share of the lines. Here they all are. Ages, where given, are a rough guide from the script, but not cast in stone.
Miss Shepherd – aged 65 she is, according to Alan Bennett in Act 2, “a bigoted, blinkered, cantankerous, devious, unforgiving, self-centred, rank, rude and car-mad cow.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Alan Bennett 1 - The public persona and the one who interacts with the other characters. Soft Yorkshire accent. In the play (which spans 15 years) he is in his 40s/50s.
Alan Bennett 2 – his inner persona. He mainly interacts with the other Alan Bennett. Same age, same accent. (Ideally, we’ll have two similar actors for these two roles, but if not we’ll leave it to costume, glasses and the audience’s intelligence.)
Other smaller parts
Some of these pop in and out throughout the play. Some parts can be male or female. We’ll double up where we can.
Rufus – Alan Bennett’s neighbour. Age 40s.
Pauline – his wife. Age 40s.
Mam – Alan Bennett’s mother. Age 60s.
Social worker– female.
Underwood – a delapidated figure. Ex-policeman who is blackmailing Miss Shepherd.
Leo Fairchild – Miss Shepherd’s brother
A lout – male.
Miss Shepherd’s doctor
You don’t need to tell us if you would like to audition, but it would certainly help us gauge the level of interest in this production. Hopefully it’s going to be huge! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to get involved, off stage?
Every production needs a solid team behind the scenes, so if you would like to get involved, please let us know. Sound, lighting, props, set building and painting, backstage (which will probably involve pushing the van around a bit), front of house, you name it. Again, please email Simon.