Established in 2012 as an experimental art studio and project space in Manchester’s Northern Quarter by artist / curators Rosanne Robertson & Debbie Sharp (not just good friends) The Penthouse built its foundations on experimentalism, DIY attitude, action and as a test bed for over 300 artists.

The Penthouse has been described as:

elevating Manchester’s Underground to the top floor of a tower block- The Wire

delivering Manchester’s best sound art show on our New York tour- The Bushwick Daily. 

ad hoc art space the Penthouse…is the best of the Northern Quarter Alt City Guide to Manchester- The Guardian

The hands on environment is unlike any other… encouraging experimentation like nowhere else- The Skinny

We have challenged and explored our position as artist led and Dyke|Queer led from all angles via residencies, workshops, talks and actions including our curatorship of Bill Drummond’s Curfew Tower, Noise Above Noise sound art series, Might & Main residency and symposium and when invited to contribute to programs at People’s History Museum The Queers Are Revolting, Royal Standard’s Dark Matter, Castlefield Gallery’s Cpages, University of Manchester’s Contemporary Feminist Activism series and The David Hockney Gallery LGBTQ+ symposium. 

Our relationship with experimentation, live art, sound, the senses and the site specific has been Queer in our disregard for boundaries between artists, the personal and audiences. Our voice has not been governed, we refuse censorship and institutionalisation. We encourage artists to explore all subjects personal to them in a fearless way, we have worked with artists whose work has been censored and stolen by police and we have provided safe space for exploration of body, sexuality, identity, politics and activism. 

As artists whose lesbian identity informs our personal practice we understand how vital it is to have a space to be and follow our deepest lines of enquiry in a place where mistakes don’t exist with support and connection to other Queers and artists across art forms. 

During 2017 The Penthouse hosted the 5th Queer Art Show: REVOKE curated by Debbie Sharp. Queer Art Show has showcased Manchester’s local Queer emerging and established visual artists since 2010 and supported artists who have experienced boundaries to the exhibition of work. 

2017 has seen The Penthouse move from our first home on the top of Hilton House- a building that provided a valuable start full of freedom, square footage and skyline- into Paradise Works- an artist run initiative on the Manchester and Salford border providing studio space to 30 intergenerational artists and projects whose outlook is local, national and international “we believe artists hold a vital role in the development of a vibrant and diverse city.”