Ruth Scoops Acting Awards Galore

July 23, 2012

Ruth Ferguson was named Newport’s best actor when she was presented with the prestigious Webley Award at Newport Playgoers Society’s AGM.

Ruth Ferguson with her awards

Ruth Ferguson is pictured with Playgoers President Richard Dymond and some of the awards won by ‘The Lady in the Van’. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Ruth won the coveted award for her portrayal of an eccentric bag lady in the title role of Playgoers’ production of Alan Bennett’s ‘The Lady in the Van’.

It is the latest award recognising Ruth’s outstanding performance as Miss Shepherd, a real life character who “temporarily” parked her van in the Yorkshire playwright’s garden and stayed there for 15 years.

Ruth Ferguson as 'The Lady in the Van'

Ruth Ferguson in her award-winning role as the eccentric Miss Shepherd in ‘The Lady in the Van’. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Recently, Ruth won the Gwent Drama League award for best actress and the play also picked up prizes for best decor, best play and best overall production.

“I am really pleased to have won this award,” said Ruth who has been a member of Playgoers for over 30 years. “I now realise that the way to win awards is to play smelly old ladies with double incontinence!”

The Webley Award is presented by Playgoers each year in honour of Thomas Webley, the Society’s first President, who was Principal of Caerleon College, which is now the University of Wales, Newport.

Ruth will be in action on the Dolman stage in Newport Playgoers’ exciting new season which includes ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Calendar Girls’ and ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. The new season opens with Noel Coward’s witty supernatural comedy ‘Blithe Spirit’ on 12th September. To find out more information and book tickets call the Dolman Theatre box office on 01633 263670 or visit

Alan Bennett’s Battles with a Lady Tramp Hits the Dolman Stage

April 12, 2012

The true story of what happened when a female tramp parked her dilapidated old van in writer Alan Bennett’s front garden unfolds on the stage of the Dolman Theatre from 17th – 21st April.

Lady in the Van

Kevin Myers and Alex Wilson as two different sides of playwright Alan Bennett wheel Miss Shepherd (Ruth Ferguson) round the garden (PHOTO:PHIL MANSELL)

The acclaimed play ‘The Lady in the Van’ is the latest production by Newport Playgoers. It tells how Bennett deals with the two elderly women in his life – the indomitable Miss Shepherd who takes up his invitation to park her van in his garden and stays there for 15 years, and his mother who has started her long decline into senility.

Directed by Ray Stone, this wonderfully witty drama is based on Bennett’s memories and asks whether the playwright’s good deeds in helping these two ladies are borne out of guilt, altruism or a mercenary eye for a good story.

The play also excels in revealing the two sides of Bennett – Alan the man and Alan the writer – in an ingenious device that lets the two sides of Bennett’s personality interact.

Lady in the Van

Kevin Myers as Alan Bennett and Ann Kelly as his Mam (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The Lady in the Van’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 17 – 21 April. Tickets can be booked by phoning the box office on 01633 263670 or visiting

Lady in the Van

Miss Shepherd (Ruth Ferguson) is given a push in her infamous van by Alan Bennett (Alex Wilson) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)