Coliseum’s 2019 programme shines torch on vital issues and celebrates lives in mix of shows

OLDHAM Coliseum Theatre’s Spring/Summer programme for 2019 shines a torch on vital issues affecting families and communities across the globe and celebrates Northern stories and voices and through a mix of new plays, musical theatre and contemporary classics.

The season opens on 31 January with a revival of one of the Coliseum’s most popular productions, Jimmie Chin’s A Different Way Home.

In this deeply moving and astutely observed play, two monologues from a brother and sister living on the outskirts of Manchester tell a powerful story from two wildly different perspectives.

Following the critical success of The Father, the Coliseum revisits the vital topic of dementia in a home-grown production of Barney Norris’ award-winning Visitors, opening on Thursday 11 April.

In a rural farmhouse, a family is falling apart. Stephen can’t afford to put his mother Edie into care and her husband Arthur can’t afford to stop working. When a young stranger with blue hair moves in to care for Edie as her mind unravels, the entire family are forced to question what the future holds.

Opening on Tuesday 14 May, the Coliseum presents Handbagged in co-production with Wiltshire Creative and York Theatre Royal.

With great theatricality and satirical humour Handbagged imagines what may have happened at the Queen’s infamous weekly meetings with Margaret Thatcher.

Dubbed the best British musical in 40 years, The Hired Man opens in Oldham on Thursday 20 June.

Based on the novel by Melvin Bragg, with a superb score of rousing rhythms and soaring choruses by Howard Goodall, this is an epic and heroic tale of love, betrayal and loyalty, set against the backdrop of English country traditions and the gathering storm of war.

Cumbria, 1898. Whippet racing, hiring fairs, hunting and drunken antics collide in the passionate story of John and Emily, a young married couple and their moving struggle to carve a living from the land.

The Coliseum welcomes the return of two exceptional touring theatre companies in April: London Classic Theatre with their production of My Mother Said I Never Should and Tamasha Theatre Company with Ishy Din’s Approaching Empty.

Set in Oldham, Manchester and London, My Mother Said I Never Should details the lives of four women through the immense social changes of the twentieth century in a bittersweet story of love, jealousy and the price of freedom.

Approaching Empty is a razor-sharp new drama by award-winning playwright Ishy Din, who started his playwritng career at the Coliseum with Snookered.

Set in a minicab office in Northern England during the aftermath of Margaret Thatcher’s death, Approaching Empty lays bare the everyday struggles of a post-industrial generation of British men.

The Coliseum’s Studio programme across February and March offers audiences the chance to see new work from emerging theatre companies.

On Saturday 23 February Off The Middle Productions presents In Other Words, a moving and humorous love story that explores the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and the transformative power of music in our lives.

From 1 – 2 March Drip is a one-man musical comedy by award-winning duo Tom Wells (The Kitchen Sink, Jumpers For Goalposts) and Matthew Robins. Liam is 15 and he’s just signed up for a synchronised swimming team to help his best mate Caz. The problem is, Liam can’t swim.

From 26 – 27 June Freedom Studios present Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, which follows Andrea Dunbar, acclaimed writer of Rita, Sue and Bob Too, as she struggles with her latest work.

Last but certainly not least, the Coliseum welcomes an array of one night events throughout the season including the chance to sing along with iconic films in Sing-a-long-a The Greatest Showman (13 February) and Sing-a-long-a Grease (7 June), treats for young people and their families with The Tiger Who Came To Tea (11 – 12 May) and Northern Ballet’s short ballet for small children, Puss In Boots(10 May); and tributes to musical greats: Cher (24 January), ABBA (23 March), The Beatles (8 May), Neil Diamond (4 June) and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (6 June).

The final productions of the Coliseum’s Autumn/Winter season are A Skull in Connemara and The Verdict.

The Coliseum opens its home-grown production of Martin McDonagh’s A Skull in Connemara on Friday 22 February.

Mick is a gravedigger whose wife died under mysterious circumstances some seven years ago. Rumour has it, it was murder. When the time comes to exhume bodies from the Connemara graveyard he finds her bones are missing.

Opening on Tuesday 12 March, Middle Ground Theatre Company present Barry Reed’s best-selling courtroom thriller The Verdict, which was made famous by the Oscar nominated film with Paul Newman and James Mason.

Washed up veteran lawyer, Frank, is given an open-and-shut medical malpractice case that no one thinks he can win. Smelling a cover-up, he instead takes the case and the entire legal system to court.

For more details and to book tickets for any of the shows go online: or call the Box Office: 0161 624 2829.

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