ONE of Britain's greatest playwrights is snubbing the glamour of the West End for the premiere of his latest show.

Alan Bennett has chosen to open his show in Harrogate, closer to his beloved Yorkshire home.

The production, called Hymn, will be staged as part of the town's annual 17-day International Festival.

It describes the musical memories and influences of Bennett's Yorkshire childhood and is set to music by film composer George Fenton.

Bennett will take centre stage for the first two nights, on August 1 and 2, accompanied by the Medici String Quartet with John Lenehan on piano.

The co-commissioners and sponsors of the show, Bettys and Taylors, of tearooms fame, played an important role in bringing the show to Harrogate.

"Our staff and customers have long been Alan Bennett fans, so it seemed only right and proper for us to ensure this production comes to Harrogate," said a spokesman.

Festival director William Culver Dodds said: "Being asked by Bennett to perform his latest work in Harrogate is a great accolade for the festival."

Hymn will also be performed in London during the winter season.