AN EXCITING new season of shows for Spring-Summer 2016 at the Oldham Coliseum has been unveiled with something to thrill all ages.
The season opens with ‘Our Gracie’, a new play on Rochdale’s finest export, Gracie Fields, written for the Coliseum and New Vic Theatre by Philip Goulding.
The play will be produced as a music hall-style piece directed by Coliseum Artistic Director Kevin Shaw and opens on Friday, 4 March, 2016.
Sue Devaney (Coronation Street, Dinnerladies, Casualty) will star as Gracie Fields as she tells, in her own words and some very famous songs, how an ordinary working-class lass became Britain’s greatest all-round female entertainer.
A second new play ‘Kiss Me Quickstep’ comes to the Coliseum in April, this time from writer Amanda Whittington (Ladies Day, Be My Baby).
It is the story of the real people behind the fixed smiles, fake tans and sparkly spandex of competitive ballroom dancing –a must for fans of Strictly Come Dancing.
Kevin Shaw, Artistic Director and CEO of Oldham Coliseum Theatre commented: “We’re committed to supporting writers and theatre-makers with inspirational and exciting new productions to delight our audiences.
“I’m thrilled that, in co-production with the New Vic, we’re able to present two brand new yet very different plays in succession this coming season.”
Then, the Coliseum presents George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion’ in May, directed by Robin Herford with new Coliseum Associate Director Chris Lawson making his main stage debut as Robin’s AD.
One of Shaw’s most popular plays, ‘Pygmalion’ examines the roles of men and women and the limitations of social class as the feisty Eliza Doolittle transforms from a cockney flower seller into a ‘proper-speaking’ lady under the tutelage of Professor Henry Higgins.
The final Coliseum production of the season is ‘The Ladykillers’ – a dark comedy in which a dear old lady and her parrot are pitted against a gang of ruthless criminals disguised as a string quartet.
‘The Ladykillers’ was written by Graham Linehan (Father Ted) and inspired by the classic Ealing black and white film. It opens at the Coliseum on Friday 10 June 2016.
Elsewhere in the season, London Classic Theatre return to the Coliseum for a week’s run of their production of Harold Pinter’s ‘The Birthday Party’.
It is set in a shabby boarding house where an elderly couple take care of a solitary guest until the arrival of two enigmatic strangers stirs everything up with horrifying repercussions.
For children next season the Coliseum welcomes The People’s Theatre Company with ‘How the Koala Learn To Hug’ on Wednesday 30 March and the popular LipService Theatre Company return with their children’s comedy adaptation of ‘Snow White’ on Thursday 2 June.
And the theatre will also be welcoming its traditional eclectic mix of comedy and musical one-night events including the return of Ken Dodd (1 June), award-winning vocalist Clare Martin OBE (3 June), comedic musical Lancashire musings of Bernard Wrigley and the Oldham Tinkers (4 June) and The Lancashire Hotpots (9 July) plus an evening with British Asian singer-songwriter Zack Knight in Dhanak (2 April) – the Coliseum’s follow-up from 2015’s Alchemy Festival which was held in association with The Southbank Centre, London.