Bennett and the Bard

Playwright Alan Bennett and poet Ian McMillan have been announced as Honorary Patrons of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra.

Disbanded in 1955, the orchestra reformed this May to support 50 freelance northern musicians hit hard by the pandemic.

National treasure Alan Bennett, 87, was born in Leeds. The author used to attend performances of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra as a boy at Leeds Town Hall.

Alan Bennett said: “When I was a boy in the ‘40s I was a fan of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra, going to concerts sometimes twice a week. A lifetime later I am happy to be its Honorary Patron. Orchestras need fans. Come and listen.”

In 1987 Talking Heads, a series of monologues for television, made Alan Bennett a household name and earned him the first of six Laurence Olivier Awards. The film adaption, The Madness of King George, secured several Academy Award nominations, including one for Bennett’s screenplay.

Jamie Hudson, co-founder of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra, said: “It’s a great honour to announce Alan Bennett and Ian McMillan as Honorary Patrons. They are remarkable creative voices and huge advocates for Yorkshire.”

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