Park Bench Theatre brings live theatre back to York with an outdoor season of monologues for all ages in the city’s Rowntree Park from 12 August to 5 September.

The productions will be presented in carefully laid out and spacious gardens, allowing audiences to keep socially distanced from each other.

Matt Aston, artistic director of engine house theatre, says: “I used to do my daily lockdown exercise in Rowntree Park where I had the idea of someone sitting on a park bench and thinking about what they are going through. The isolation and the fact that she might actually have been isolated for many years. I then remembered First Love was also set on a park bench and the idea rolled on from that.

“It’s so exciting to be able to get to present some actual live theatre. A rarely-performed Samuel Beckett, a brand new play and something for all the family inspired by a classic song. All performed on and around a park bench.”

First Love by Samuel Beckett

A man, a woman, a recollection. One of Samuel Beckett’s most masterful stories, First Love is awash with Beckett’s signature balancing of comedy and tragedy.  Contains very strong language. Wed 12 – Sat 22 August, 7pm. 8 & 15 August, 4pm matinee.

Every Time a Bell Rings, premiere by Matt Aston. Lockdown. Easter Sunday 2020. Cathy emerges from her own isolation and searches for solace on her favourite park bench in her favourite park. A touching, funny and poignant look at how the world is changing through these extraordinary times. Contains very strong language. Wed 19 Aug – Sat 5 Sept, 7pm. 22 Aug & 5 Sept, 4pm matinee

Teddy Bears’ Picnic, premiere inspired by the song and based on an original idea by Julian Butler.Every year Jo’s family used to have a big family gathering – a teddy bears’ picnic. It was brilliant. Then she got too old and too cool for that sort of thing. So she stopped going. But now she’s grown up … she wishes she could have them all over again. Suitable for everyone aged 3 and over. Audiences are invited to bring along their favourite teddy and a picnic. 11.30am & 1.30pm on 19-22, 27-29, 31 August & 1-5 September

In conversation with York City Council, and in line with current government guidance, Park Bench Theatre has implemented a range of measures to ensure the health and safety of audiences and staff. The measures are under constant review, and apply across all performances throughout the season.

The performance area: The Friends Garden in Rowntree Park in York. Headphones will be required to hear the dialogue, sound effects and music in performances. All audience members will be given a receiver on entry which headphones can be plugged into. Audiences are encouraged to bring their own (no wireless or Bluetooth ones – they must be ‘plug in’ headphones or earphones). You can purchase takeaway headphones for £1 when you book your ticket online, which can be collected when you visit.

Seating. People are encouraged to bring blankets in the first few rows and chairs in the back few rows.

Full details can be found on Park Bench Theatre website



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