Z-arts, Manchester

Project overview:

Z-arts is a Theatre and Performance venue based in Hulme, Manchester for children and their families; amongst its many creative spaces the facility is equipped with a 230 seat Theatre in which they host a wide variety of events.

With the last seating fit out taking place over 22 years ago the venue was eager to improve upon the previous theatre set up and took advice from esteemed consultants Charcoal Blue in order to help achieve the result they desired.

Hussey Seatway were selected to provide a full refurbishment within the Theatre including the replacement of all fixed seating and a retractable bleacher seating system.


We worked tirelessly to ensure that the refurbishment met the client’s expectations through the provision of a new Retractable Seating System that featured a wealth of features including; flexible seating arrangements, dimmable LED lighting to illuminate seatways and aisles, electronic partial opening & new fixed access stairs with storage cupboards underneath to the outer sides of the retractable seating system.

Not all of the features of the newly refurbished theatre were ‘high-tech’ solutions, others were simple but effective. The theatre had decided to take a less formal approach to allocating seats for events than traditional row letters and seat numbers, preferring instead to allocate seat colours that would allow them to concentrate the audience in specific areas for reduced capacity events, an approach that they felt would better suite their young patrons. As you will see from the photos the selected colour scheme has led to a spectacular result.

Having provided Z-arts with our theatre quality welded space frame Retractable system and Gallery 3 chairs we are certain that they are well equipped to continue to provide excellent services and events to the children and families of Manchester for years to come.

Client Testimonial:

“Thanks to substantial funding support from Renaker Build Ltd and the Foyle Foundation, Z-arts embarked on replacing our seating unit with one more suited to a young audience whilst maintaining its professional functionality.

We were happy to choose Hussey Seatway following the robustness of their previous works, creative response to the unique challenges of our auditorium and adaptability to our brief within the bounds of the tender budget.

The comprehensive consultation which included onsite studies, resulted in a high quality, bespoke finish that met our specific functional needs alongside Charcoal Blue’s brief.

A very short turn-round time was implemented within a window of 2.5 weeks in March 2020. Despite restrictions incurred by the pandemic the handover was achieved on time, the week we went into lockdown! The engineers were never less than friendly and professional on site, respecting increasing pandemic controls.

All elements of the installation were well-managed causing minimal local impact despite the need to remove the entire previous installation within 2 days.

In keeping with Hussey Seatway’s approach to sustainability, they helped us repurpose many elements of the old system.

The end result is a unique, exciting and flexible space that provides a number of different configurations. We have been left with a comprehensive package of spares for any future maintenance requirements. The finish was extended to cover some areas beyond the original scope.”

Steve Curtis – Z-arts Head of Technical and Premises



Consultants: Charcoal Blue

Client: Z-arts Manchester’s dedicated venue for Children and Families, Theatre and Arts Centre

Product Information: Seatway TP, Seatway FT & Gallery 3 chairs.