Autumn/Winter 2022

New space, new writing and new beginnings for 53two as they lay out plans to take them to 2023.

53two launch first ever season in their new home with world premieres of new writing, the return of JB Shorts and opportunities for Greater Manchester talent to share their work as a part of several new platforms supporting multi-discipline creatives.

53two, only just over a year old in their new venue, are making moves to change the face of independent Manchester Theatre with a line up of new writing and events that will champion their ethos of ensuring theatre and the arts are for everyone. For creatives and audiences alike, access is key.


In September, the space affectionately known as ‘the arches’ will open its newly expanded 150 seater venue with brand new writing from Joshua Chandos. The one act, two hander will be brought to life by the venue’s Creative Director, Simon Naylor and represents the flagship of the work that 53two hope to continue to create for the next decade. The piece follows Kitty and David as their unlikely friendship blossoms. They realise that maybe they do have more in common than they first thought, bonding over a shared passion to fix the ever-growing immigration problems.

‘Things That Divide Us’ will run from previews on 13th September until 1st October.


‘I was lucky enough to read the play in lockdown whilst judging for Capsule Festival and I loved it. A beautifully simple piece with emotional intricacies threaded throughout. All based in the most unlikely setting of the Calais Jungle. It has heart, it has passion and it has a message. And it’s new writing and 53two is absolutely here for that, striving to become only the second, solely new writing venue in the North of England. I’m beyond excited to get stuck into rehearsals and get 53two doing what we do best.’ – Simon Naylor, Creative Director - 53two.

From October 11th 53two welcome to the arches the return of a Manchester institution. JB Shorts, MTA Winner 2018, returns with all the customary brilliance of 6 short plays, penned by TV writers and crafted into shape by directors and actors from across Greater Manchester.


If you haven’t been before, you need to!


Described by Paul Vallely of The Independent as ‘An evening of funny, gutsy and inventive theatre’, this two week run has something for everyone - guaranteed. With over a decade of these twice-yearly smorgasbords of brilliance, the waiting is over and the legends are back!

53two are proud to support SWITCH MCR, originally starting as a young company providing a curtain-raiser of a show in 53two’s old venue, SWITCH have now grown their own identity and operate as 53two’s associate, next generation artists, receiving support with rehearsal and performance space, mentoring and workshops. To date, the arches have housed SWITCH’s weekend festival celebrating global majority creatives, a double bill of brand new pieces and Autumn welcomes another incredible weekend festival


celebrating LGBTQIA+ artists and a SWITCH-penned Halloween spectacular as they spend two weeks wowing (and scaring!) visitors. Written, directed and created by Andy Long and SWITCH Artistic Director, Gabriel Clark and running from 25th October to 4th November.

November sees the return of 53two’s mini-festival, NEWvember, providing a super-reduced rate for writers and actors to share brand new work in three different tiers of performance.


Too often, scripts are scribbled down and never given a real chance of getting in front of an audience. It's usually too expensive, or too difficult to find a suitable venue or simply find the right platform. For November, 53two is given over to creatives at a reduced cost for them to show their work to audiences of public, producers, directors and more, without the pressure of a 'full production'. 

Why use a back room of a pub, when you can use the 53two theatre? Seated script readings, rehearsed readings or scaled back, full productions are on offer to creatives across Greater Manchester as the venue opens its doors to three slots a day; morning, afternoon and evening and gives creatives the chance to invite an audience to hear their work from just £50. Full programme released soon and enquiries to grab a slot are now open here.


CAMRA are back in the arches in November with what will be their fourth mini-beer-fest under the 53two banner. A cracking weekend from Campaign for Real Ale and this time a slightly larger affair, taking place in the new, converted arch space which also doubles as a sizeable events space. Details of the event can be found via their members website – technically not new writing but, if you know 53two, you’ll know they love their ale, so, why not do both!


Headlining the month and bringing a third full length, world premiere to the arches are 53two’s dear friends Dibby Theatre. 


53two’s relationship with this award-winning LGBTQ-led company began in their old home and since then, Dibby Theatre’s work has toured the UK and they have delivered industry-leading talent development and community outreach here in Greater Manchester too.


We are delighted to welcome the team back with a brand new play by Chris Hoyle. 


Expect northern wit, grit and soul... but this ain't no kitchen sink drama, Dibby make theatre that makes your heart go BOOM! 


Absolutely unmissable. | @DibbyTheatre

In the run up to Christmas 53two welcome two shows to the arches. Annie Rogers of SWITCH is leading the team to bring a fun packed family show to the arches. The team of creatives take the audience on a journey exploring what life would be like if we lost the ability to ‘play’ and whilst the journey engages and entertains the younger audience, it might just spark a few childhood memories for those of a slightly older generation. Promising to be a beautiful hour of colour packed, sensory brilliance, it will certainly provide a fun injection of Christmas into all ages. Running daily from 13th – 22nd December.


Closing the year 53two welcome Imaginality Productions and the world premiere of ‘Realms Of Glory.’ Set at Christmas 1940, to a toe-tapping score inspired by the golden age of wartime music, this brand-new musical tells the story of Lizzie, a munitions worker who is caught in the air raids of the Manchester Blitz. Trapped beneath the streets, she takes us on a whistle-stop tour of her life in Manchester; through her formative years, life with the lively locals and a whirlwind romance with her RAF pilot husband. However, all is not as it seems and the show provides a heart-warming narrative on grief and fighting for second chances. Beneath the iconic brickwork of 53two’s 150 year old arches, expect a Christmas tale like no other that will warm your cockles and fill your hearts. Running from 14th – 22nd December.

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Alongside this incredible line-up of talent and beautiful new writing 53two will continue to support Manchester creatives and ensure that access is at the heart of their theatre. 53New, launched earlier in the year will continue to welcome new talent and emerging theatre companies, offering reduced hire rates and ‘hire now, pay later’ options to ensure that creating theatre, even with a minimal budget, can still happen.


53two will also be welcoming the stunning artwork of deaf artist Glen Palin as he launches an exhibition in the bar area, showcasing his beautiful paintings of Manchester city centre.


53two Membership is now available to everyone via the website, for either £5/month or £50 for the year. This provides a discount on all in-house shows and on food/drink at the bar with every visit.

We cant wait to share our new season with you all so, keep in touch, watch for ticket releases and we'll see you soon for a beer, a show and a catch up. 

Any questions, please feel free to drop us a line