This derelict department store is the next space to host Art Battle Manchester after 19 sold-out events

The Debenhams store in Stockport closed down back in 2021, and there’s been a ‘where do I get mums Christmas present from?’ hole in our hearts ever since. After serving the people of Stocky-P for 45 years prior to its closure, the building has been left a little sad and empty since lockdown. Luckily, Art Battle Manchester is set to head to the ‘burbs with some creative chaos in tow. 

As our insider’s guide to Stockport clearly indicates, this South Manchester suburb has got it all going on. Think bakeries come pottery studios and noodles from the Mekong River region. Taking over the town for one night and one night only, Art Battle Manchester is set to grace the streets of Stockport on Friday 23 September with fast-paced fun and some audience participation. 

There can only be one winner, and we’ve got all the deets.

Art Battle Manchester 2022 Stockport Debenhams
Like Gladiators, but with canvases Image: Art Battle Manchester

Make art, not war

Art Battle Manchester started back in 2013, and co-founder John Macaulay explains that the event focuses on “art for the people, by the people”. There’s no bloodshed in this battle, just some serious brushstroke action. 

The premise of the event revolves around 10 fearless artists painting, illustrating, sketching or spraying live, with only 30 minutes to create their complete Art Battle submission. Chuck in a few skateboarders, fire-breathers, and live music and you’ve got a proper Friday night out. As the audience waits with bated breath and a critical eye, you then choose the winner and celebrate with some bevs. 

Throughout the last 9 years over 150 artists have battled it out in a load of different locations, and some have even gone on to pursue art full time. Nothing gives you a kick up the arse like a chanting pack of Mancs. 

Stockport Debenhams Manchester Art Battle September 2022
Debenhams is swapping accessories for budding artists Image: Rept0n1x via Wikimedia Commons

Art in swanky spaces

Not just an event for your bog-standard gallery space, Art Battle Manchester has held previous events in spots like London Road Fire Station, Victoria Baths and the ever-evolving Escape to Freight Island. Co-owners John and Sophie vowed to “never use the same venue twice”, so they’ve committed to bringing this “off-beat lively event” to old builds, historic mills and Manc-based warehouses since its conception.

One spot they’ve yet to battle it out in is a shop, so Art Battle Manchester 20 - Upbeat On The High Street is a new one from this Mancunian pair. Rumour has it that this spot is soon to become a swanky new hospital, but not before a load of artists have painted their arses off for half an hour in front of a cheering crowd. 

Art Battle Manchester 04 Stockport Debenhams 2022
Dimly lit art battles are our new favourite Friday activity Image: Art Battle Manchester

From good Stock(port)

With this market town being donned "the new Berlin" by Luke Unabomber, and Dua Lipa stating “they make top brews there” (she's clearly had some Columbian coffee from Café Sanjuan), it's not hard to see why Sophie and John nabbed this abandoned Debenhams spot in Stockport:

“It was a no-brainer to come to Stockport; there’s a thriving cultural scene and a strong independent vibe. There will be a festival atmosphere on the night and some of Stockport’s top artists hoping for victory with home advantage.” 

Art Battle Stockport Debenhams September 2022
You'd be a dummy not to check this Stockport battle out Image: Art Battle Manchester

I wanna go

Tickers for the next Art Battle Manchester in Debenhams are on sale via Skiddle now, and they're £15 each.

The event runs from 7pm - 11pm on Friday 23 September and you can get excited about some unexpected shenanigans in addition to the art, music, food and drink that the Battle squad have already got planned. 

Debenhams Stockport, Prince's St, Stockport SK1 1TS

Read next: The best things to do in and around Manchester: July 2022

Read again: Co-Op Live: UK's biggest and most sustainable arena to open in East Manchester

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