School programme reveals a teenage Alan Bennett's first public speaking 'engagement'

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A former classmate of Leeds-born playwright Alan Bennett has uncovered evidence of what could have been the writer's first public performance.

Harry Tarran was two years below Alan at Leeds Modern School, and found an old programme from the school's speech day in 1949 which featured a prominent performance by the future actor, then just 14 years old.
After the school orchestra played the national anthem, the proceedings were opened by a recital from Virgil's The Aeneid by A Bennett.

Alan's contribution to speech day in 1949 can be found high up the order of proceedings

Alan's contribution to speech day in 1949 can be found high up the order of proceedings

Harry, who now lives in Darrington, near Pontefract, and received the school music prize that day, has wondered if it was the first public speaking 'engagement' of Alan's long career on stage and in literature.

Butcher's son Alan grew up in Armley and attended Leeds Modern, now Lawnswood School, before studying at Oxford. He now divides his time between homes in London and Yorkshire.

HELPING HAND: Ben Wilson, MD at MPM, with Victoria Hopkins, MD at Hopkins Catering. PIC: Tony Johnson

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