53two Theatre have potentially found a new home...

... in the arches beneath Manchester Central.

By Ben Brown | 29 October 2019

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53two have had their planning application validated to convert two historical arches beneath Manchester Central into a new dedicated theatre and events space, allowing them to continue to create affordable, accessible and ground-breaking theatre in the heart of the City.

53two originally set up home just 100 yards from this proposed new venue, bringing new writing from local writers and providing an accessible theatre space with affordable ticket prices to the city, plugging the gap between smaller fringe theatre and the larger theatres of Greater Manchester.

The new 6000sq ft theatre and bar will be situated in the arches on Watson Street, with a 150 seated and 350 standing capacity, allowing them to continue to house a vast array of events, performances and exhibitions from theatre, to live music, to exhibitions and even ‘urban weddings’.

With massive help from Up North Architects and a team of consultants, charity 53two are currently in consultation and if planning approval is secured then works can begin in November 2019.

The venue aims to open its doors in the spring of 2020 and look forward to bringing back to Manchester the critically acclaimed JB Shorts & Monologue slam, as well as launching new writing programmes, providing a ‘hub’ for creatives to meet and work and a ‘members bar’ for post-show drinks for performers working in the surrounding venues.

The proposed venue is fully accessible, both for audience members and for artists with accessible toilets throughout, lowered bar and dressing room tables and ramped access at street level, at a time when accessible spaces in Manchester are at an alarmingly low level.

Simon Naylor, 53two’s Artistic Director said “We are beyond excited at taking this massive step towards our goal. Our theatre friends from the old venue provided us with a Kickstarter of £11,000 without which, we would have been unable to even take the first steps.

“Since then, we’ve managed to raise the required capital from various places, in particular our Theatre Angel Sharon Colpman, and we’re now incredibly close to opening the doors to 53two theatre once again. We can’t wait to become a part of the new Watson Street community that is set to bring a new focus on the arts and nightlife to a previously unused stretch beneath the iconic Manchester Central.”