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Open-air shows to be staged in York's Rowntree Park

Open-air shows to be staged in York's Rowntree Park

posted 31 Jul 2020

Open-air performances are to begin in York, with a series of monologues performed on or around a bench in a local park.

Operating under the banner of Park Bench Theatre, the shows will be performed in Rowntree Park, from August 12 to September 5, by theatre company Engine House Theatre.

According to the company, the productions will be “presented in carefully laid out and spacious gardens, allowing audiences to keep socially distanced from each other”.

The shows being staged are First Love by Samuel Beckett, Every Time a Bell Rings by Matt Aston, and Teddy Bears’ Picnic by Aston and Cassie Vallance.

Engine House artistic director Aston said: “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.”

He added: “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.”

The Park Bench performers are Lisa Howard, Chris Hannon and Vallance.

Helen Apsey, head of culture and well-being at Make It York, which promotes the city, said: “This is a fantastic initiative to bring live theatre back to York in the beautiful surroundings of Rowntree Park. It is a great addition to the city’s summer offering – providing a safe outdoor theatre experience designed for families and people of all ages.”

Audiences will listen to the action through headphones, with audience members given a receiver on arrival.

All tickets will be digital, and checked without contact at a social distance at the entrance to the performance area. Each household or social bubble will be seated at a “safe distance from other households or social bubbles”, the company said.

Original article here. Photo credit: Livy Potter.



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