Man on Bench Fairytale

Man on Bench Fairytale
28th August 2018 Jessica Turtle

Immersive Opera Brings Life, Death and Second Chances to Mayfield Depot at 3pm on 18 November

Five years ago, David Tovey sat on a park bench, homeless and suicidal. The man who sat next to him saved his life. On 18 November, David and the Museum of Homelessness bring this story to Manchester’s iconic Mayfield Depot in a new production developed by people who’ve faced homelessness.

Featuring models, poets, actors and musicians, Man on Bench is an opera like no other, a fairytale that places high fashion firmly in the hands of society’s most rejected people.

David’s visual, textile and performance work has been shown at Tate Liverpool, Tate Exchange at Tate Modern and Gloucester Cathedral.  His first documentary, Outsiders, airs on Radio 4 in on September 9. In early 2018, David received support as an emerging artist from Unlimited to stage  Man on a Bench is part of his ongoing collaboration with the Museum of Homelessness, an independent national charity run by people who have experienced homelessness, and is dedicated to sharing art, histories and culture to change society for the better.  Museum of Homelessness will be acting as David’s pro-bono producers for this show.

The performance comes at a time of huge awareness and political focus on homelessness in Greater Manchester. Andy Burnham, the Mayor of the city region has made a personal pledge – and donated a proportion of his salary – to addressing the issue. The number of people sleeping rough in Manchester has increased seven-fold since 2010.

This performance questions stereotypes about people who’ve been homeless and shows the beauty of second chances.  The performance rounds off the With One Voice International Arts and Homelessness summit and festival – week in which events will be taking place around Manchester that celebrate the power of art in tackling homelessness.

Practical info

Man on Bench Fairytale is a free event and tickets can be booked here.

Doors will be open from 2.30pm and the performance will start at 3pm finish no later then 4pm. Please wrap up warm as it’s likely to be cold at the venue.

Man on Bench is an interactive show that will contain different media including flashing light, noise and some visitors may find some of the content challenging and/or triggering.


Man on Bench Fairytale will feature BSL interpretation, captioning via the Difference Engine app, and audio description. Accessible seating is available for those who need it, as well as a wheelchair viewing area. If you have any questions or concerns about access, please reach out to our producer Adam Hemmings

Man on Bench Fairytale is commissioned and supported by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists, with funding from spirit of 2012. We are also delighted to be partnering with Love for the Streets in Manchester.


Comment (1)


  1. […] Museums can highlight the issue of homelessness The Museum of Homelessness is the first of its kind in the UK. It started in 2015 and deals with a lived experience of homelessness. The museum aims to “make the invisible, visible”. It highlights the homelessness crisis through various projects. It has held events such as film screenings, exhibitions and even an original opera. […]

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