After 14 sell-out seasons and 84 Bitesize World Premieres...

JB Shorts returns with…



April 5th - 16th 2016

Our most recent show

JB Shorts 14

Tues 3rd - Sat 14th November (NOT Sun 8th)

7.00pm (doors open 6.40pm)

MATINEE: Sat 14th November 3pm

All Tickets: £7

Joshua Brooks, 106 Princess Street, MANCHESTER M1 6NG


The Plays


By Andrew Lynch

Directed by David Fleeshman

Two women meet in a toilet, and through confrontation, find something in common that changes their lives…


By Anita Pandolfo

Directed by Paul Blinkhorn

Three estranged siblings come together in the relatives room of a High Dependency Unit… will they survive the night?


By Peter Kerry

Directed by Caroline Clegg

Two points in history. Young women running away from comfortable homes to join wars. They think they're fighting for just causes. Their families have other ideas…


By Dave Simpson

Directed by Alyx Tole

Claire is head-hunted by CEO Joanne….but things are not as they seem and they are both in for shocks.


By Perrie Balthazar

Directed by Lucia Cox

The world’s sold out to a huge private company. All except England. The only hope of saving this drowning nation is to be bought out. But what's left to sell?


By Lindsay Williams

Directed by Miranda Parker

On a trip to the seaside, Nellie meets retiree Frank. Is this a last chance of happiness, or will the ghosts of her past continue to haunt her?

Getting Involved

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 try something new in the small cellar.

JB Shorts is a profit share show and it also involves a lot of hard work taking down the set and all the chairs so the venue can be turned back into a nightclub at 10pm every night. Despite that, it continues to be a big success on the Manchester scene attracting some of they best local talent and most loyal audiences around.

The Venue

Joshua Brooks

Ben Levine and his team at 'Joshua Brooks' have proved to be the perfect hosts for JB Shorts. As well as establishing the venue as one of Manchester's most pulsating nightclubs (nominated for 'Best UK Small Club' in DJmag in the last few years), Joshua Brooks has grown into a favoured venue for many of Manchester's fringe theatre companies. Add to all this, the pub's varied and innovative quizzes, film nights plus other events - and the sumptuous range of real ales - and Joshua Brooks can safely be described as one of modern Manchester's social and cultural gems!

Find Us

106 Princess St

Manchester M1 6NG

What They Said

What others say about us

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

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

Meet The Team

Find out all about us

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.

Trevor Suthers

Trevor has had more than sixty plays produced, ranging from monologues to musicals, children’s theatre and sketch shows as well having written for Coronation Street and Eastenders. He has had a number of one-act plays both staged and broadcast in the US and many of his plays are published online. He founded the Reallife Theatre Company way back in 1992 whilst writer in residence at The Green Room in Manchester.

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.

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.

Recently, Roger directed the national tour of the new production of Calendar Girls, and 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, and Charlotte’s Web for Birmingham Stage Company at Derby Theatre.

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, 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 whenh it was performed live on the Colin Murray Show in 2011. James’s first stage play ‘Twenty-20’ received its World Premiere in Summer 2010 at The Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough and James has recently been commissioned to co-write a new stage play about Edward Rushton – 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.


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.

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.

Nick Stevenson

Nick is currently an Arts Administrator at Nottingham Lakeside Arts. He is the coordinator of the East Midlands Children’s Theatre and Dance Network, a project supported by Arts Council England to tour high quality national and international work for children around the region. Nick also supports the organisation’s theatre projects, most recently the national tour of Inside Out of Mind.

Nick is a former President of the award winning Nottingham New Theatre, the only entirely student run theatre in England. He was responsible for all aspects of the company and venue, which produces twenty In-house productions and ten Fringe productions each year. He has produced five plays for The Nottingham New Theatre, for which he was ensembled by the National Student Drama Festival. Nick also produced Jim Cartwright’s Bed at Nottingham Lakeside Arts. He graduated from the University of Nottingham in LLB Law.

Nick’s first independent project was a production of Martin Crimp’s The Country at the Blackburn Empire Theatre. He is now working on theatre projects in the North West with his sister and theatre director Liz Stevenson. Nick was also the Assistant Producer for JB Shorts 12, working with John James Tomlinson.

Nick is a founding member and Producer of RopeWalk Productions; a Nottingham based company creating new and innovative musicals. He is currently producing The Final Act which is going to this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Nick has worked as a Musical Director on shows such as Wild West End at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2012 (Pleasance Queen Dome) and Curtains (Nottingham Arts Theatre) and has worked as a pianist for musicals and solo artists in Nottingham and the North of England.

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.

JB Shorts Alumni

Previous members of the team

Louise Carmichael

Louise is a highly skilled/qualified freelance PA who worked with us in the capacity as Administrator up until JB10. Louise welcomes similar opportunities coming her way. Contact her on

John James Tomlinson (Associate Producer)

John is currently the Stage One Apprentice Producer based at Sheffield Theatres, a scheme that aims to develop the best new theatre producers in the country. He works alongside some of the best creative teams in the country working on all aspects of producing – casting, budgets, investments and agreements. Sheffield Theatres was voted The Stage’s Regional Theatre of the Year in both 2013 & 2014 and John works on all in-house productions.

John has worked with poet, writer and performer Ben Mellor (BBC Radio 4 National Poetry Slam Winner) and instrumentalist Dan Steele to manage their tour of Anthropoetry, a spoken word performance about the human anatomy, which recently toured the country across ten venues.


John is a founding member and producer of Strawberry Blonde Curls, a theatre company for whom he has produced two successful UK studio tours for, Inside and Elastic Bridge. John manages the creative teams, artistic vision and raises the funds for their projects, which set out to tackle human rights and social issues. In the summer of 2013 at Edinburgh Fringe, Strawberry Blonde Curls took their work to the next level with masses of critical acclaim from the press for their show Inside which will tour in late 2014 and early 2015. The company are currently developing two new shows, including Century which will be presented as a work-in-progress at Sheffield Theatres.


John was part of Contact’s Re:Con scheme, where he developed a 24 hour multi-platform, 24 Arty People arts event that created innovative work from all types of creative people - many of whom continue to collaborate together now.