Preview: An Evening With Alan Bennett, Prince of Wales Theatre, London

Prick up your ears for Bennett
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The Independent Culture

When Marcus Davey, the chief executive of the Roundhouse in London went round for tea at Alan Bennett's house to ask him if he might help with a fundraising evening for the performing arts venue, he was pleasantly surprised. "We were not asking for money, but for help," says Davey, who has held his current position at the Roundhouse for five and a half years. "He said that he would love to help."

When Marcus Davey, the chief executive of the Roundhouse in London went round for tea at Alan Bennett's house to ask him if he might help with a fundraising evening for the performing arts venue, he was pleasantly surprised. "We were not asking for money, but for help," says Davey, who has held his current position at the Roundhouse for five and a half years. "He said that he would love to help."

Bennett will read from a selection of his work and take questions from the audience, while Michael Palin will host the evening as master of ceremonies. "It will be a wonderful journey through his life and his work," says Davey, whose idea it was to get the two Camden residents on board, in an attempt to raise the £2.8m still needed for the £28m redevelopment of the building. The envisioned new performance space at the Roundhouse will include an additional creative centre for youth arts.

The Roundhouse first opened its doors in the mid-Sixties and has been the scene of some legendary performances. "They include the first gig by Pink Floyd, the only British performance of The Doors, historical performances by David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones, and some amazing theatrical productions by directors such as Peter Brook," recalls Davey. In recent years, the hit show De la Guarda, a theatre circus performance from Argentina, and the writer and film-maker Michael Moore's Live at the Roundhouse graced the stage of the then-crumbling venue before it shut its doors last year.

As an iconic figure of British theatre, Bennett - whose latest play, The History Boys, was a huge success at the National Theatre and now on tour - has an abundance of work, spanning more than 50 years, to read from during the evening. "He will be deciding exactly what to read nearer the time," says Davey. "It is a surprise."

Sunday (0870 850 0393; www.delfontmackintosh. co.uk)

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