It’s just a bench in the park, the one by the war memorial.

A thief, a fake clairvoyant, a homeless man, two burglars, a street sweeper, two war veterans, an artist, a widow, a drug dealer, a real clairvoyant, a loan shark, an angel and a ghost. They’ve all sat here at least once this year.

Before the end of the year one of them will be murdered here…

Like Stephen King meets Jimmy McGovern, The Bench is a gritty, urban comedy-drama with a rich vein of the supernatural.

Dates & Times

Last session: Thu 30 May 2024 at 8:00 PM - This event has now passed
Derby Hall @ The Met
£19 standard / £16 subsidised / £22 supporters (inc fees)

Standard What we need most people to pay.

Subsidised For people currently unable to pay the standard price.

Supporters The extra you pay goes directly towards the subsidised ticket option.

Age guidance 16+ due to adult language and themes.


“Entirely gripping. Utterly enthralling. A play like Joe O'Byrne's comes along to remind us all what really matters.”

Steve Balshaw, Grimmfest

“Written, produced and directed by Joe O’Byrne, this sharp and telling play features all manner of fascinating characters whose lives and loves intersect over the course of a year near a park bench. Highly recommended and a play and writer that will surely go on to great things.”

Kevin Bourke, Manchester Evening News

“Loved it! Wonderful gags out of left field, intrigue, suspense, heart-rending scenes and heart-warming moments. A great night of theatre! Do more!”

David Slack, Manchester 24/7 Theatre Festival

“The cast are brilliant, and the stories too, the costume and accent changes are amazing, in the literal blink of an eye they are someone different. The show enchants you, thrills you, chills you, haunts you and will break your heart.”

John Kristof, Number9Reviews

“Makes you understand what really matters in the world you are living in...there were some really bone chilling moments... and at other times the audience could not stop laughing at what was happening onstage. Well done to everyone involved, a truly incredible production.”

Tracey Fone, Better Than Words

“O’Byrne’s writing has real depth as his characters give a voice to people who are rarely portrayed in such a naturalistic, truthful way in enjoyable evening of storytelling, engaging and interesting characters who have so much more to say...this has potential to go far.”

Gill Lewis, The Reviews Hub

Related events

Theatre -

Nanna’s OnlyFans Film

Dolly and Nellie are making a few extra quid with their OnlyFans page. But trouble follows when one of the other residents of their old folks home drops dead during filming...

Theatre -

Top Whack PIP

Calvin is over the moon when he's awarded Top Whack P.I.P. (Personal Independence Payment) - but not everyone is as pleased... A new musical comedy by MaD Theatre Company.

Theatre -

Kats Dance Academy presents SHOWTIME

A dancing show arranged by Kats Dance Academy based in Heywood.