The Park Keeper comes to Rowntree Park in York

Engine House Theatre in association with York Theatre Royal and C&L Promotions is presenting its next Park Bench Theatre production. I saw a show at Rowntree Park last year and it was ace, so I definitely recommend going along and giving The Park Keeper a watch when it starts its run from 7th – 17th July.

The show has been written by Mike Kenny and directed by Matt Aston. It is set in York in the summer of 1945. Rowntree Park’s first, and so far only, Park Keeper is about to retire. And that can mean only one thing – a speech. But what can he say? How can he close this chapter on his life? Will he be able to lock the gates to his kingdom one last time?

Director Matt Aston, said: “Inspired by York’s very own ‘Parky Bell’, this is a heartfelt and poignant one man show that celebrates 100 years of Rowntree Park while also asking the question ‘what happens when we’re not needed any more?

“I’m delighted that Park Bench Theatre is returning to Rowntree Park in its 100th birthday year. Mike Kenny has written a beautiful script that I’m sure will capture the hearts of everyone who has ever been to and loved the park over the years, as well as anyone who might be enjoying their first visit.”

Mike Kenny said: “This one had my name on it right from the start. It’s inspired by the story of a man coming to the end of a career he loves, trying to sum up a life lived. It’s happening in the place that it’s about, which is around the corner from where I live. On a bench where I have often sat. We set it at the end of the last War, just as the world emerged into what was hoped would be a new world. I have often felt that theatre should speak to the time and place in which it happens. Hopefully, this does that.”

The Park Keeper is played by Sean McKenzie, whose recent appearances include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Rise and Fall of Little Voice and The Lady in the Van.

Abigail Gaines, from Friends of Rowntree Park, said: “We are delighted to have Park Bench return to this summer as part of Rowntree Park’s centenary celebrations. A play inspired by the park’s history is very much welcomed and we know will be warmly received by the local community. Relaxed, welcoming open-air theatre by an award-winning writers in beautiful surroundings is something not to be missed.  We can’t wait!”

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York, said: “Rowntree Park is a wonderful setting for a live theatre experience and we are delighted to hear that Park Bench Theatre will be returning again this year. This will be a brilliant addition to the city’s summer offer and something really special for residents and visitors alike to enjoy as part of the park’s centenary celebrations.”

As you can see from so many incredible statements from some of the most well-respected figures in the area, Park Bench Theatre has made a tremendously positive impact on the community. It’s great to see it returning to York in 2021 and hope these stunning outdoor performances become an annual feature!

For more information and to book tickets, visit the website.

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