OLDHAM Coliseum theatre is set to close its doors on March 31 after funding cuts.
Famous faces, including actress Maxine Peake and Coronation Street star Sally Dynevor, have joined a campaign to save the Fairbottom Street venue following the announcement of the end of its Arts England subsidy.
But the board says it has put forward a proposal to close for the final time at the end of next month.
More than a century – the venue opened as a circus in 1885 – of performing arts will come to an end because of the current financial situation.
A programme of events was announced in the hope a funding solution could be found.
But after no progress was made, the decision has been taken to cancel everything that was scheduled beyond March 26, including the pantomime Sleeping Beauty.
Now as it stands, the Coliseum’s final event will be the rather aptly-named play How Not To Drown.
The Coliseum board said in a statement: “The current financial situation is not sustainable for the running of a full-time theatre.
“It is with great regret therefore that we announce that we have entered into a consultation period with all staff and it is proposed that Oldham Coliseum Theatre will close its doors on Friday, March 31.”
The focus now has turned to making sure the Coliseum’s current staff and artists are not simply dropped and left out of pocket.
The board added it is, ‘working with Arts Council England and Oldham Council to ensure a smooth transition period for the company, including funding to enable support for our workforce and honouring commitments to artists.’
It continued: “The Coliseum has been at the heart of theatre in Oldham for over 100 years, with a highly regarded history in the industry dating back to the Oldham Rep which launched the careers of many famous faces.
“Many of the Coliseum’s staff have lived in Oldham all their lives and worked with the company for over a decade. They are the priority for the company at this time.”
The Coliseum insists everything scheduled until that final show on Sunday, March 26 will go ahead and ticket holders for shows beyond then will get a refund.
Any donations made when booking tickets for cancelled events and Our Coliseum members whose memberships are due to expire after March 26 will also be refunded.
The board added: “The Coliseum would like to thank its audiences, participants, sponsors, partners, funders, patrons, industry colleagues and friends for their support over many years.”