Real Life Theatre Company Presents…



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

Our Tenth Anniversary Show…

JB Shorts Reloaded Poster


An evening of Six Fifteen Minute World premieres by Top TV Writers

8 Albion Street


M1 5LN

Tues 19th March - Sat 30th March (No performances Sun 24th & Mon 25th March)

7.30pm (doors open 6.40pm)

MATINEES : SAT 23rd March & SAT 30th March @ 3 pm

All Tickets: £9

Advanced Booking At: We Got Tickets

The Plays


Written & Directed by James Quinn

Assistant Director: Aileen Quinn

5.50pm on a Sunday afternoon somewhere in the Premier League. The players and the officials have done their bit. But the pundits and the presenters have barely started.

From JB Shorts 1 – March 2009

Featuring Alexandra Maxwell, Philip Shaun McGuinness, James Quinn, Callum Sim & Peter Slater


By Peter Kerry

Directed by Chris Bridgman

Two ordinary commuters on an ordinary railway station in an ordinary town. A story of shared history and betrayal.

From JB Shorts 2 – October 2009

Featuring Andrew Bentley & Laura Littlewood


By Dave Simpson

 Directed by Alice Bartlett

After exaggerating and lying about their physical attractiveness on a dating website, Andrew and Angela meet up.

From JB Shorts 9 – March 2013

Featuring Susan McArdle & Will Travis


By Diane Whitley

Directed by Rachel Brogan

An elderly couple celebrate their Golden Wedding anniversary. But do the snapshots of their seemingly idyllic life together reveal the whole story?

From JB Shorts 5 – March 2011

Featuring Glenn Cunningham, Julie Edwards, Beth Nolan & Sean Ward


By Lindsay Williams

Directed by Miranda Parker

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

From JB Shorts 14 – Nov 2015

Featuring Richard Hawley, Jeni Howarth-Williams & Kerry Willison-Parry


By Trevor Suthers

Directed by Brainne Edge

Six actors in search of a play. A chaotic rehearsal in cramped conditions - but who is directing who?  The question remains ; is this a play or isn't it?

From JB Shorts 2 – Oct 2009

Featuring Arthur Bostrom, Lucie Browne, Martelle Edinborough, Darren Jeffries, Emily Spowage & Rob Stuart-Hudson

Photos by Sean Mason at Pull Focus Productions

Getting Involved


JB Reloaded is now FULLY CAST. 8 JB debutants join 14 alumni from the original productions for this tenth anniversary retrospective. Once again thank you so much to all those who applied to be part of JB Reloaded. As ever, we were overwhelmed by the volume of interest and were spoilt for choice in making our final decisions. Thanks again.

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

Hannah Ellis Ryan

(Associate Producer)

Hannah Ellis Ryan is a producer who co-runs her own theatre company, Play With Fire Productions. Play With Fire recently debuted at Hope Mill Theatre with Lyle Kessler’s Orphans. Hannah is an in-house producer for specialist engagement company: Ziggy’s Wish, alongside her freelance production and acting work. Hannah is thrilled to be joining the team of JB Shorts. Twitter handle: @hannahellisryan

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.

James Mason

(Chief Technician/Lighting Designer)

James is a freelance theatre technician, lighting designer and stage manager, based in Manchester. He has worked with JB Shorts since its fifth incarnation.

James graduated from the University of Manchester in 2008 with a BA(hons) in Performance Design and Management. Since then, James has gone on to work in a number of venues in and around Manchester.

James was responsible for designing the lighting for the highly successful world premier of Blind Date at the Bolton Octagon, where he also acted as Stage Manager. James has worked on various projects in venues in and around Manchester, including the Capitol Theatre (Three Sisters) and the Zion Arts Centre (Jane Eyre), as well as a number of Fringe productions.

Tom Collins

(Sound Engineer/Stage Manager)

Since graduating from the School of Sound Recording Manchester in 2012, Tom has worked on gigs, live events, seminars and theatre all over the city. Since joining the team in 2013 for JB10, Tom has done both sound design and operation for each subsequent JB Shorts, as well as being Assistant Stage Manager.Tom's other ventures include producing Podcasts, online instructional videos and other multimedia educational products and studying music.

JB Shorts Alumni

Previous members of the team


(Company Stage Manager)

Joseph Colgan is a freelance Company Stage Manager now based in the North West. After working on TV series Shameless for Channel 4, his involvement began with the initial JB Shorts and subsequent 9 that followed. He has provided technical support for corporate entertainment events, festivals and theatre (including Lighting and Sound Design). Also engaged as a CSM on numerous national touring productions across the UK and Ireland with venues including, (Manchester) Lowry Theatre, Contact Theatre, Library theatre (now Home). Greenwich Theatre, Salisbury Playhouse, Brighton Dome.

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.

Nick Stevenson

(Associate Producer)

Nick worked as our Associate Producer for JB Shorts 13 and 14, having assisted John James Tomlinson on JB Shorts 12.

Nick is currently the Assistant Producer at Theatr Clwyd in north Wales. He is a line-producer and programmer for the theatre. Nick’s credits as line-producer include: A Streetcar Named Desire (Theatr Clwyd, Nuffield Southampton Theatres & English Touring Theatre); The Great Gatsby (Theatr Clwyd & Guild of Misrule); Sleeping Beauty; The Snow Queen (Theatr Clwyd & Paperfinch Theatre); Heroine (Theatr Clwyd & High Tide Festival); Paines Plough’s Roundabout Season 2017 (Theatr Clwyd, Paines Plough & Orange Tree Theatre);The Importance of Being Earnest; Scarlett (Theatr Clwyd & Hampstead Theatre); Aladdin; The Nutcracker (Theatr Clwyd & Paperfinch Theatre).

Nick is the Executive Producer of Junction 8 Theatre, a company based in Chorley, Lancashire which he runs with his sister and Artistic Director Liz Stevenson. Junction 8 Theatre’s first production Under the Market Roof by Becky Prestwich ran on Chorley Market in October 2017.

Previously, Nick was the Stage One Apprentice Producer at Theatr Clwyd. Nick has also worked on freelance projects for Lancaster Arts at Lancaster University and Nottingham Lakeside Arts. Following graduating university, Nick was the Arts Administration Intern at Nottingham Lakeside Arts. He was 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.

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 [email protected]