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Top playwright Alan Bennett to give South Shields Lecture

SOUTH SHIELDS DATE ... Alan Bennett.

SOUTH SHIELDS DATE ... Alan Bennett.

WORLD-renowned British playwright Alan Bennett is to give the next South Shields Lecture.

Bennett is the latest big name to have been lined up for the prestigious event, which will take place early next year.

The event was created by outgoing South Shields MP David Miliband, who is keen to see the lecture continue.

Over the years, the talk has been given by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, actor Patrick Stewart, best-selling writer Bill Bryson and comedian Jo Brand.

This year’s speaker was comic actor and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams.

Although Mr Miliband has now stepped away from a life of politics to take up a charity post in New York, he is keen to see the lectures continue.

Mr Miliband said: “Part of my commitment to the town is to keep the South Shields lecture going.

“Already, I have lined up Alan Bennett, who is a fantastic playwright, to be the next speaker at the lecture, which will be held next year. More details will be announced at the beginning of 2014.”

Bennett, 78-year-old Leeds born writer, is one of Britain’s best known playwrights and authors.

Along with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook, he achieved instant fame by appearing at the 1960 Edinburgh Festival in the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe. After the festival, the show continued in London and New York.

His later work includes The Madness of George III and the Talking Heads series of monologues.

Bennett adapted his 1991 play The Madness of George III for the cinema. Entitled The Madness of King George, the film received four Academy Award nominations.

The South Shields Lecture was founded by Mr Miliband after his election as South Shields MP in 2001.

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa

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