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Building on the past for the future

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Manchester poet Tony Walsh (pictured above) has written a new poem as an anthem for Manchester city centre's under-the-arches theatre space, 53two.

Aimed at gathering support for the venue, These Bricks They Speak shines a light on the industrious history of the city's inhabitants and the new hive of creativity.

The poem - to be premiered by Tony on March 24 - will be used as 53two's anthem and to launch BRICKS, a festival of new writing from collaborative company Red Brick Theatre, aimed at showcasing talent in writers, directors and actors from across Greater Manchester.

Tony said: "The arches have quickly become a welcoming home for many different communities on the Manchester scene. I’ve been looking for a way to help and I was delighted when some lines for a 53Two poem started to come to me.

"I’ve used the beautiful brickwork and structure of these historic railway arches as metaphors for strength and unity."

BRICKS will run until April 1, and features six new, 15-minute works featuringh the likes of Karen Henthorn (Coronation Street, Eastenders, Royal Shakespeare Company), Emmerdale’s Sammy Winward and Tachia Newall (Brassic, Dune, Waterloo Road).

Writers include Luke Barnes (National Theatre, Young Vic, Leeds Playhouse) and Will Nyerere Plastow (Casualty).

Each piece will have its own director, including TV favourite George Bukhari (Ridley, Years and Years, Ordinary Lies), 53two’s creative director Simon Naylor and co-founder of Red Brick Theatre Oliver Hurst.

:: Recently registered charity 53two has received a grant from Backstage Trust to part-fund the installation of a Changing Places toilet, a facility with a hoist and changing bed to provide severely disabled patrons the chance to visit the venue without fear of having to return home when needing the toilet. This is one of only two such facilities currently operating in the city centre.

:: 53two is a Manchester theatre, bar and arts charity that strives to support disadvantaged and underserved artists. It has a 150- seater theatre (at 19 Watson Street, M3 4LP) that is fully accessible and open seven days a week.

More info here.


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