York’s Park Bench Theatre Presents First Love by Samuel Beckett

actor chris hannon in long tan coat and black hat, sat on park bench with legs together and head tilted to side
Image Credits: Northedge Photography

Expectations: 3/5

Reality: 4/5

Chronic Illness-Friendly: 5/5

[AD – Press Invite. Many thanks to York Theatre Royal and Engine House Theatre for the complimentary tickets. It’s so important to support local theatres at this time so I’d also like to make clear that I will be making an online donation following the performance. You can do the same here!]

To say it’s been a theatre-less few months would be an understatement. Like many people, I’ve been sorely missing live theatre and watching on with despair as the industry we adore struggles to survive these challenging times. However, if stagey people are anything, they’re creative. They do what they can to find innovative solutions to seemingly impossible barriers, and Engine House Theatre’s Park Bench Theatre initiative is a prime example of this.

From August through to September, Park Bench Theatre will be sharing three unique productions: a play based on Samuel Beckett’s First Love (under Under Matt Aston’s direction), the premiere of the original Every Time A Bell Rings, and a further premiere of Teddy Bears’ Picnic. The small team of creatives will be staging each of these productions outdoors, within the gorgeous scenery of York’s Rowntree Park, inviting audiences to once more indulge in the arts in a safer, socially distanced way.

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York’s Wheelchair-Accessible Indie Coffee Shops and Cafes

pippa sat at table wearing jumper and looking down at tea cup in hands, with tea pot on table in front

If you’ve ever visited York, you’ll know it’s an absolute goldmine for cute and quirky independent businesses. You could visit a different indie coffee shop for breakfast every weekend, and in my former years as a student (prior to becoming a wheelchair-user), that’s pretty much what my friends and I did.

Fast forward a few years to the present day, however, and finding a local, wheelchair-accessible spot for a cuppa and a bite to eat when you’re out and about is infinitely more difficult, especially when you’re trying to stay away from chains of Starbucks and Costas and support local businesses and tourist attractions instead.

Sadly, there’s a real lack of accessibility awareness in York centre, especially for such a well-known touristy spot. Many organisations are quick to defend themselves with excuses of listed-buildings and historical accuracy, rather than liaising with disabled visitors and making a commitment to at least trying to improve their accessibility. And in my eyes, it’s a real shame.

That said, there are still a fair few lovely spots committed to welcoming disabled visitors, including the following…

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