Download our first newsletter of 2018 as PDF here.


: 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, 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 disregards boundaries between artists, the personal and audiences. Our voice has not been governed, we refuse censorship of ourselves and others. 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 others across art forms.

IMPOSE||LIFT 2017-2018

For 2017 The Penthouse were selected as curators for Bill Drummond’s Curfew Tower. During 2017 we selected 9 artists to carry out their own residency projects exploring their situation to the tower and the surrounding town of Cushendall considering themes of restriction and liberation and personal politics.

Sophie Cooper

Sandra Bouguerch

Mary Stark & David Chatton Barker

Rowan Eastwood

Chloe Beecham

Juliet Davis

Hannah Leighton-Boyce

Richard Shields

Sophie Cooper took the chance to  invite locals to an open house and a gig in the Tower kitchen with 3 Eyed Makara as well as launching her Dial-a-Bone project and releasing The Curfew Tower Recordings, Cassette on Crow vs Crow (sold out. Digital download available)

Mary Stark & David Chatton Barker carried out their all-encompassing The Quickening project inspired by the forthcoming birth of Mary & David’s first child that took the form of a 2 hour radio broadcast on CAMP Radio 

Richard Shields rose through the ranks of his own organisation- The EVF- The Esoteric Volunteer Force. He performed a EVF RECRUITMENT DRIVE in both Cushendall and at Carbooty, Manchester, works from his project have been exhibited by Sexy Boy Unites Salford at Paradise Works, Salford.

A full review of artists projects from IMPOSE||LIFT will be released early 2018.

The Penthouse curatorship of The Curfew Tower continues with QUEER CURFEW until August 2018 resulting in an event for Festival of the Glens, Cushendall.

The Curfew Tower 17 on Facebook

2017 saw The Penthouse host 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. REVOKE brought an international collaboration between Stephen Kelly and Ron Kibble making site specific work and our Queer Art Show on wheels for the Manchester Pride Parade. Manchester based artist Seleena Laverne Daye showed new work commissioned by The Penthouse celebrating Queer People of Colour, especially those on the ACE spectrum. Highlighting misconceptions of Asexual people, to queer women of colour in literature (See Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple) and to sometimes the only way POC and asexual people can get visibility is to shock.

2017 saw an invited bunch of riotous Queers take to our roof in REVOLT as part of our exhibition from curatorship of The Curfew Tower- titled IMPOSE||LIFT in an action captured here by Sophie Broadgate. This event was part of Manifest Festival who triumphantly joined up Manchester’s Artist Led on the occasion of Manchester International Festival. Listen here for Manifest Podcasts.

Sound Experiments: Manchester’s Women & Non-Binaries: The Skinny

“…the emergence of spaces such as The Penthouse and earlier Islington Mill, brought Manchester central spaces for sound-based events outside of a commercial setting. Rosanne Robertson co-founded The Penthouse, along with Debbie Sharp, and tells us about the Northern Quarter-based studio’s relationship to Manchester’s scenes: “The Penthouse is about tackling the model of art as luxury commodity and more about the necessity to find space.” 

Read Article

We ended the year as part of International Queer Art Collective Balaclava Q screening HIVideo on the occasion of World Aids Day. Works by the collective including mention of Rosanne Robertson’s Be Enraged Become Explosive named after AIDS activists Fierce Pussy were included in this article for OUT.COM.

“…Where were queer women during the AIDS epidemic of New York in the ‘80s and '90s? A new audiovisual work from Manchester artist Rosanne Robertson remembers their role: Be Enraged, Become Explosive, which borrows its title from the wheat-pasted activism of the Fierce Pussy collective formed in '91, premieres today on World AIDS Day—in 19 cities around the globe.”

We would like to thank Stephen Kelly for his extension of this platform to build on into 2018.

OUR MOVE: 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.


The Penthouse

Paradise Works
East Philip Street
M3 7LE

Find us at our new home at Paradise Works on East Philip Street on the border of Salford and Manchester

(10 min walk from Victoria Train Station). Google Map link




HOME, Manchester

Fri, Jan 18, 2018

6:00 - 7:00 PM


Instigate Arts presents a night of creative and artistic Do it Yourself, bringing together Manchester and Salford’s cutting edge, innovative and leftfield creatives, collaborators, collectives and spaces. Find out who’s doing what, where and how and enjoy an evening of art, performance, music, video and conversations.


 A reverse sculpture by artists Debbie Sharp and Rosanne Robertson.

For De(Construction) artist directors of The Penthouse Debbie Sharp and Rosanne Robertson will present a reverse sculpture that pairs raw materials of construction and the performance of destruction - reducing old hierarchical individualistic monumentalism to the communal experience of dust.


FOLLOW OUR WEBSITE FOR FURTHER 2018 NEWS including our new program.




We would like to thank all the artists who have been part of our actions, exhibitions, residencies and events and to our audiences engaging fearlessly with new experimental, Queer and ‘Outsider’ Art.

We would like to thank Arts Council England for their support of our projects with Grants for the Arts.

We would like to thank Bill Drummond for his Curfew Tower.

We would like to thank Hilary Jack, Lucy Harvey and all at Paradise works for our new home.

We would like to thank Stephen Kelly and BalaclavaQ.

We would like to thank Superbia for their continued invaluable support.

We would like to thank Instigate Arts for their support from the start.

We would like to thank Fred Aldous for their generous support from the start.