Real Life Theatre Company & 53two Presents…



Winner of 2018 Stage Door Award For Excellence at the Manchester Theatre Awards

The Plays


Written by Joyce Branagh

Directed by Alyx Tole

Not all heroes wear capes – some have an anorak, a brew, and a plan to overthrow the government.


Written by Maz Hedgehog

Directed by Justina Carmen Aina

Love, kink and marshmallows…


Written by Cathy Crabb & Lindsay Williams

Directed by Miranda Parker

Down at the foodbank, some are more equal than others.


Written by Dave Simpson

Directed by Robert Marsden

When Mike reaches 40 he has a mid-life crisis. He gives up his accountancy job to follow his dream.


Written by James Quinn & Trevor Suthers

Directed by James Quinn

…or is it?


Written by Debbie Oates

Directed by Ellie Rose

Kathy has chosen Gaz to be Mrs Proops’ next companion. But is he up to it?

A woman in a leapord skin jacket stands closely behind another woman in a white strappy dress, with her right hand on the shoulder of the woman in white. The woman in white is stood with a defiant look on her face and her arms folded in front of her.
A young woman, with a cheeky smile on her face, is kneeling at a desk with her arms cross on it, while she looks up at someone out of shot.
At the forefront of the image is a woman seemingly shouting into a headset microphone. Out of focus behind her is a man appearing to simulate a sexual act on the woman.
A side on headshot of a man in a purple shirt and grey jacket, with his mobile phone to his ear and a very surprised look on his face.
A woman in a nurses outfit stands next to a man in jeans and a salmon short sleeved shirt. The man is sat down looking up at the woman.
A woman in a short, sleevless, green, glittery dress looks into the audience with a pleading mannner.
An elderly couple sit either side of a small table with cups of tea on it, shouting out something loud. A Policeman stands between them, behind the table, also shouting something.
A tall middle aged man in a black t-shirt, speckled with white paint, dances with an elderly woman wearing a brown wooly skull cap and a light beige wooly cardigan.
An elderly lady, with spectacles, smiles at the camera, with a cup of tea clenched at her chest. She is wearing a white hard hat over a brown wooly skull cap and a light beige wooly jumper under a beige fleece body warmer.
Two men in black clothing sit next to each other. The man on the left and towards the back of the picture is on his phone, gimmacing and looking at the floor. The man on the right and nearer the front of the picture has a full beard and is wearing sunglasses. He has his hands out in front of him, palms up, as though explaining or pleading with someone stood over him out of shot.
There are two men in black clothing. One man is in the front of the picture looking to the left with an aprehensive look on his face. The other man is in the background, out of focus, and appears to be shouting something at the man in the front.
An out of focus man with black hair and a black leather jacket, is looking into the picture (we only see the back of his head). There is a red headed woman, her long hair flowing either side of her face to lay on her chest, looks back at the man, mouth wide open in an expression of shock or shouting.
A white man wearing traditional Native American headgear has a strange expression on his face, with his mouth open and his eyes wide open.
Two women dressed for cold weather, appear to be looking at something low down.
An upper torso and head shot of a young woman, looking down, with half of her obscured in shadows.
A blading man in a black t-shirt and blue rimmed glasses, looks at a news paper in his hands. Next to him is a taller youg woman wearing a long sleeved, tight-fitting, black t-shirt, looking at the news paper with a slightly confused look on her face.
Three people, two men and a woman, sit next to each other at a long wodden table. They each have a bottle of beer in front of them. The man on the left wears a dark blue suit jacket over a slightly light blue top, he is leaning backwards and looking upwards with a perplexing look on his face. The man in the middle wears a black t-shirt and blue rimmed glasses. He is looking to his right and laughing at the other man. The woman on the far right, wearing a blue shirt with sleeves that only just go past her elbows, glances at the man in blue and laughs.
A woman in a blue shirt, with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows. He right hand is up in the air palm out, her left hand is in front of her face palm in. She has an expression of surprise or shock on her face.
A man with grey hair and grey stubble, wearing a demin shirt, is the main focus of the image. He is in a side profile, looking a the camera. Out of focus behind him, in front profile, is a woman with shoulder length grey hair. She is looking at the man with an expression of shock on her face.
A man is plastering a wall, in side profile, looking towards the camera, over his right shoulder. There is an elderly woman in a white hard hat and beige clothing, closer to the camera, but not in focus.
Photos by Sean Mason at Pull Focus Productions

Getting Involved


JB Shorts 24 is now fully cast. Of the 18 performers, 11 make their JB debut and are joined by 7 others who make a welcome return.
We thank all those who submitted, taped and auditioned for us. We continue to be overwhelmed by the huge interest in JB Shorts.

Writing for JB Shorts

JB Shorts invites guest writers to join the team for each production. There is a 'waiting list' of guest writers for future shows and the team is not currently inviting any script submissions.

History of JB Shorts

JB Shorts began as a conversation between two writers, Trevor Suthers and John Chambers, who imagined a festival of short plays written by established TV writers. It could have been one of those drunken conversations that never go anywhere but instead Trevor and John followed it up by finding a venue at Joshua Brooks, then bringing on writers Peter Kerry, James Quinn, Lindsay Williams, Dave Simpson and Diane Whitley.

With the expert help of director Roger Haines, the first JB Shorts was produced in March 2009 to widespread critical acclaim. No-one had quite expected the atmosphere in the dark cellar of Joshua Brooks to be so exciting, or the audience to be so enthusiastic.

It was meant to be a one off event but the writers realised that this was a chance to try out ideas and produce new and exciting work. So the group of original writers along with Roger Haines got together and decided to turn it into a bi annual event.

Since then JB Shorts has continued to grow year on year. We are very lucky to have some amazing directors, and actors work on the show and the quality is constantly improving. The event is still run by the original writers but now also attracts many guest writers who relish the chance to write in the short form

JB Shorts is a profit share show and involves a lot of hard work from all involved. It continues to be a big success on the Manchester scene attracting some of the best local talent and most loyal audiences around. In November 2016, the move to 53Two ushered in a new era in the JB Shorts story…

The Venue


Find out about our new home over on their website!

53two theatre - Arch 19, Watson St, Manchester. M3 4LP. The best way to find us is to download What3Words using cities.tins.petal.

We are on the corner of Watson St and Gt Bridgewater St. and a 5 minute walk from Deansgate Metrolink/Train stop, a 1 min walk from Beetham Tower and next door but one to Mcr Gin/Three Little Words. If you were to stand with Albert Schloss to your back, you can walk straight down the road opposite and we’re the last building on the left.

On Google maps, you can find us by typing ‘53two’ in to the search bar. Unfortunately, Apple Maps gets a little confused.

Uber will bring you to Watson St, outside Mcr Gin where you can walk 30 seconds away from Albert Schloss/235 Casino to find us.

If you can’t find us, give us a bell - 07432 198 724

View on Google Maps

What They Said

What others say about us

'JB Shorts 16 presents a smorgasbord of fantasy, farce, satire and sheer silliness… It’s a cracker of a evening.'

Paul Vallely. Read his 4 **** review here at The Independent

'The JB Shorts evenings have become one of the best-loved fixtures on the Manchester theatre scene'

Kevin Bourke. Read the review at Manchester Theatre Awards

'Long live JB Shorts'

Tracey Lowe. Read her 4 **** review here at The Good Review

'As for JB Shorts, I can't recommend it highly enough'

Alfred Hickling, THE GUARDIAN

'An evening of funny, gutsy and inventive theatre'


'Fast moving, funny and touching. The most enjoyment I've ever had in a cellar.'

SIMON ARMITAGE, Poet, Novelist & Playwright

'I had such a good time at JB Shorts. Funny, poignant, and never time to get bored. It's a great format.'

CHRIS HONER, Artistic Director, Library Theatre

'JB Shorts is becoming a salient feature on the Manchester theatre landscape.'

Paul Vallely. Read his 4 **** review here at The Independent

'Master Craftsmen at Work… a truly wonderful night out'


'A unique opportunity to see master craftsmen at work - and enjoy a wonderful night out'

NATALIE ANGLESEY, Manchester Evening News

'JB Shorts are Inspirational. Great writing, great acting - and it's in a pub! What more could you want for a storming night out?'

MAXINE PEAKE, Actress - The Village, Silk, Criminal Justice, Shameless, See No Evil, Little Dorrit, etc, Artist in Residence at the Royal Exchange Theatre

'…A Magical combination of short plays that steal your attention and refuse to give it back…unmissable'


'As for JB Shorts, I can't recommend it highly enough'

The Guardian

Joanna Ing is impressed with JB Shorts 10 at Joshua Brooks, Manchester.

Read her 4 **** review here at Whats On Stage

'JB Shorts is an accessible and friendly night out in a relaxed venue. It's also an excellent showcase for Manchester's writing and acting talent. I've been twice and will definitely be there again!'

CHRIS MONKS, Artistic Director, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

'JB Shorts is a cracking night out at the theatre. Not to be missed.'

DAVID LLOYD, Ex-Lancashire & England Cricketer, now a TV Commentator

'A superb collection of funny, thought-provoking and hugely entertaining plays. I'll continue to wear my JB Shorts with pride.'

PHIL MEALEY, Writer & Co-creator of Early Doors, Sunshine

'Shorts and snappy . It works every time…… a "must-see" on the Manchester cultural calendar'

Manchester Theatre Awards

Meet The Team

Find out all about us

Head shot Peter Kerry

Peter Kerry

Television credits include Children's Ward, Big Meg Little Meg, MI High and Emmerdale. On radio, he has worked on The Archers as well as creating the sitcoms North East Of Eden and Men Of Intelligence along with dramatising the novels of Giovanni Guareschi, Terry Pratchett, E Nesbit and Julie Myerson. He has also one novel published, The Scribe.

Head shot Trevor Suthers

Trevor Suthers

Trevor has had more than seventy plays produced from monologues to musicals, cabaret and sketch shows. He has a particular interest in Youth Theatre with many plays published and available online. He has written for Coronation Street and Eastenders and has had a number of one act plays both staged and broadcast in the US. He founded the Reallife Theatre Company back in 1992 whilst writer-in-residence at the Green Room in Manchester.

Head shot Lindsay Williams

Lindsay Williams

Lindsay Williams is a BAFTA nominated UK television and theatre writer. She has written over eighty episodes of prime time TV including many episodes of Emmerdale and EastEnders. She has also written for radio and her first Afternoon Drama ‘A Little bit of Latitude’ was broadcast on Radio 4 in 2012. She also writes regularly for the stage and is a big fan of the short format. She has been part of part of JB Shorts from the start and has written short plays about diverse subjects ranging from earthquakes, to Iranian nuclear politics, to Lady Gaga, and wedding dresses. Lindsay is also part of the production team for JB Shorts and has spent countless hours in meetings listening to James Quinn and Trevor Suthers row over seating arrangements and ticketing issues. It's every bit as exciting and glamorous as you'd imagine.

Head shot James Quinn

Photo by Len Grant

James Quinn

As an actor, James has appeared in theatres all over the country including Old Vic, Sheffield Crucible, Royal Exchange, Birmingham Rep. Greenwich Theatre. Library Theatre, Bolton Octagon and many more.

On TV, James has played returning characters in Early Doors, Coronation St, Fat Friends, Red Cap, Hollyoaks, New Street Law, Emmerdale & Drop Dead Gorgeous - and guest roles in various other shows including, Jewels (Bridgerton prequel), Peacock, Unforgotten, The Bay, Bancroft, Dr Who, Scott & Bailey, Shameless, Dalziel & Pascoe, See No Evil, Buried, Clocking Off, Heartbeat, New Statesman, Casualty.

As a writer, James’s ‘JB Short’, ‘At The End Of The Day’, became BBC Radio 5Live’s first ever drama commission when it was performed live on the Colin Murray Show in 2011. James’s stage plays include, ‘Twenty20’ at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough and ‘Unsung’ at the Liverpool Everyman, co-written with John Graham Davies.

For BBC Radio, James wrote and played the title role in three series of his Radio 4 comedy, ‘Sir Ralph Stanza’s Letter From Salford’ and has performed in many R4 comedies and dramas. In addition to his acting and scriptwriting work, James has spent two spells as ‘Writer-in-Residence’ at HMP Manchester (‘Strangeways’), 2000/1 & 2005/6 and is a matchday commentator on FC United of Manchester TV and Radio.

Head shot Dave Simpson


Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson started his writing career with the BBC and has had in excess of 30 radio productions broadcast before moving on to TV where he wrote for The Bill, Coronation Street and was an Emmerdale writer for five years. In recent years, however, he has developed his career in theatre and film. He has had in excess of 18 stage plays performed, the most successful being GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT, which toured for three years and transferred to the West End in 1998, and also toured for 20 weeks in 2010, and more recently, THE NAKED TRUTH which finished its 5th tour in 2011. He is currently working with Producer, Bill Kenwright, on a new stage musical, THE GOLDEN OLDIES and has just had another stage play optioned, GIRLS’ NIGHT IN, for a possible tour next year.

He currently has two feature films optioned, RAVING BEAUTIES, produced by Mark Forstater, to be directed by Paul Hills and WHATEVER LOVE IS, produced by Jeffrey Taylor of StageScreen Productions and to be directed by Douglas McKinnon. He is currently co-adapting the novel, NICHOLAS DANE, written by the award-winning teen novelist, Melvin Burgess.

Head shot Diane Whitley

Diane Whitley

Diane is an experienced scriptwriter, showrunner, script editor and producer. She worked as development producer and head writer/showrunner on Series 1 and 2 of the RTS and BAFTA nominated hit gothic teen drama, HOUSE OF ANUBIS, which Lime Pictures and Studio 100 produce for Nickelodeon US & UK. She also wrote a feature length special of the show as well as kicking off Series 3. More recently she has been writing on the brand new CBeebies show TOPSY AND TIM for independent company, Darrall Macqueen. Her previous work includes writing and producing for Granada Kids on shows such as GIRLS IN LOVE, THE WORST WITCH, 24 SEVEN and BIG MEG LITTLE MEG and writing for the BBC on shows such as GRANGE HILL, HOME FARM TWINS, and BEAR BEHAVING BADLY. Di has a number of original series ideas in development and recently won development finance from Creative England to develop a feature film, GIRL MISSING, which she will write and produce. Diane – along with co-writer Danny Spring - has also just been commissioned for a major new live action CBBC drama.

Head shot Paris Rogers

Paris Rogers

(Associate Producer)

Paris Rogers trained at Pendleton College and Graduated from The Arden School of Theatre. Since graduating Paris has produced and written for many theatres such as, The Lowry, Salford Arts, Leicester Square, The Kings arms, The Eagle Inn, The Viaduct, 53two and Oldham Coliseum. Paris has also produced for the BBC and was mentored by Bruntwood prize winner Andy Sheridan as part of a new writing scheme. In addition to this she has produced projects that provide a stepping stone for underprivileged young people in Manchester and continues to be a mentor for older and younger creatives. Paris has had the opportunity to work along side some of the top producers and writers in the UK.

Head shot Skai Cody

Skäi Cody

(Assistant Producer)

Skäi Cody, is a producer and actor from Manchester, recently graduated from Rose Bruford Wigan. Her credits include; The Board (Creative Producer), Celebrate Deeplish - Breaking Barriers (Assistant Producer), ALRA North Showcase - Lyceum Theatre London (Producer) & Have A Break, Have A KitKat - ACE Funded R&D (Actor)

She is really excited to be part of the JB team and is glad that it has been relaunched, a much needed injection of theatre and new writing after what has felt like an age without it!

Head shot Adam Cachia

Adam Cachia

(Supervising Director)

Adam Cachia is a Director and Writer who mainly works in Theatre, Audio and Film.

They graduated Staffordshire University in 2019 with a BA First Class Honours in Acting and Theatre Arts.

In 2020 Adam graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London with a MA in Theatre Directing - course founded and conveyed by Katie Mitchell OBE.

Adam is also the current Artistic Director of Peripeteia Theatre Company, which they co-founded in 2020.

JB Alumni

Head shot Roger Haines

Photo by Richenda Carey

Roger Haines

Roger has been awarded the Horniman award for his contribution to theatre in the North West. For the Library Theatre, Manchester he directed productions of Into the Woods, (Manchester Evening News Award Best Production of a Musical) Assassins, (TMA Award Best Production of a Musical) Company, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd, as well as the European premières of William Finn’s March of the Falsettos (MEN award Best Production of a Musical) and Sophisticated Ladies, both of which transferred to the West End. As musical supervisor for the company he was responsible for the European premières of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, Follies and Pacific Overtures.

Roger has also directed national tours of Steel Magnolias, Driving Miss Daisy, (TMA Award Best Touring Production) and Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor, (MEN Award Best Production of Play) which he also directed in the West End, starring Gene Wilder.

Roger directed Charlotte’s Web for Birmingham Stage Company at Derby Theatre. He also directed national tours of Calendar Girls, The Full Monty and The Girls by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth. He directed the highly acclaimed world premiere of the musical The Go-Between (TMA Theatre Awards UK Best Production of a Musical 2012) for West Yorkshire Playhouse, Derby Live and the Royal & Derngate, Northampton. He has since directed it for the West End with Michael Crawford playing the leading role.

Head shot placeholder

John Chambers

When John co-founded J.B. Shorts with Trevor Suthers it squared the circle in that he started his writing career having one-act plays performed by Pan Theatre, in PUBS, in the early ‘80s. Dave Simpson and Di Whitley were amongst the founders of Pan.

John subsequently went on to write over a hundred hours of tele (from soaps to children’s drama plus 4 thirty minute plays for BBC2). His stage plays have been premiered around the northwest (Contact, Octagon, Playhouse, Dukes, Coliseum & Library Theatre where he was Arts Council Dramatist).

Throughout he’s always returned to one act plays – due no doubt to his low boredom threshold. He is currently working on a series of one act plays under the title “Lives – Lived and Imagined”. Research on some started 15 years ago! They are now beginning to appear online and are getting productions in the UK, North America and Australia among others.

His work is mostly of a radical bent.