Oldham Coliseum announces shock cancellations

THE FUTURE of Oldham’s Coliseum theatre is under threat after its spring-summer programme was cancelled.

Plays, performances and the traditional pantomime have all been axed as chiefs attempt to find a way through a funding crisis.

It all leaves the Fairbottom Street venue shrouded in uncertainty, with talks over its current financial commitments ongoing.

oldham coliseum theatre Problems started when it was announced in November the Coliseum would not be part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio from April 1.

A programme 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.

As it stands, the last event will be play How Not To Drown.

A Coliseum statement said: “The current financial situation is not sustainable for the season as planned.

“The board of trustees and senior leadership team have been working hard to find a solution to this reduction in funding.

“The theatre put the pantomime on sale in November and announced the Spring-Summer season in early December with the best possible intentions, while still exploring options that may have enabled the continuation of the programme.

“We are working with Arts Council England and Oldham Council to honour agreements with artists and producing partners.

“It has been an incredibly difficult decision to cancel the programme of events and we understand the disappointment this will undoubtedly cause.”

Events at the Coliseum until March 26 will go ahead as planned and ticket holders for those beyond that date will be refunded in the coming weeks.

Any donations made to the theatre when booking tickets for cancelled events and Our Coliseum members whose memberships are due to expire after March 26 will also be refunded.

8 Replies to “Oldham Coliseum announces shock cancellations”

  1. Oldham already has at least 7 theater/performance spaces and The Coliseum, (and the proposed new building in the refurbished Old Post Office,) has long been just another OMBC white elephant limping along on Arts Council grants and subsidies and quietly going nowhere; without much real enthusiasm or interest.

    If it was the last theater in Oldham The Coliseum might have been missed, but in fact that’s very far from being the case and most of the political and WOKE heavy productions that they’ve put on recently have seemed unbelievably dire and of almost no general interest .

    Contrast that with our visit to Millgate Arts center a couple of months ago to watch Ben Hur, which was the best night out we’ve had in quite a while.

  2. Programme choice is always make or break, and the Coliseum has had its unwise artistic directors in the past. Even so, we should have professional theatre in Oldham as well as amateur gladiators!

    Apart from anything else it strikes me as remarkably tin-eared to increase funding to Peshkar Theatre while delivering a death blow to the Coliseum. I can’t think of a more divisive decision that the Arts Council could have made.

    1. There’s absolutely no point or justification whatsoever for maintaining an expensive theater than almost nobody wants or supports, (other than the inevitable children’s pantomime at Christmas.)

      The only production I can ever remember that Coliseum put on that I was remotely interested in going to watch was a production of Becket’s Waiting for Godot and that was years ago; in the end I never got round to seeing, not least because it wasn’t really going to be wife’s cup of tea.

      Greater Manchester is already well served, (some people would argue is even over supplied,) with theaters of various kinds all of them within easy and convenient distance of Oldham, so why should Oldham, (or ACE,) fund, support or otherwise preserve one that has long been little more than an artistic and commercial dinosaur ?

      1. What a surprise that you’ve steamed in with claims of wokeness and happy to see a government funded theatre disappear. It’s disingenuous to claim that almost no-one wants or supports it.

        Millgate theatre was able to refurbish due to private funding from businesses and supporters. With your regular Tory leaning comments it’s not hard to see why you compare the two. The Tories are intent on destroying the arts in this country. And whilst you won’t be personally affected it’ll be a real loss for Oldham if this theatre closes. They do a lot of good work with upcoming theatre companies and need to appeal to younger audiences as their membership demographic is older and predominantly white.

        Sadly the Coli has been let down by the council with promises of a new theatre that would’ve attracted a newer and younger clientele and with this they would’ve had to create a program of shows that would broaden its appeal. Its current location is unappealing and not easily accessible.

        1. Yawn; yes of course and if in doubt always blame the, “evil,” Tories, but The Coliseum have actually had decades and much generous funding from The Arts Council and from other sources as well to make a go of things or at least to make a case for that funding to continue and they haven’t done that.

          The Coliseum has gradually become just another money pit and as always it’s, “no really we just need another few hundred thousand pounds more t keep going just a bit longer and everything will magically come out right ?”

          No one believes that any more.

          Arts funding is scarce and desperately needed, but even by you own logic using what funding is still available to support undertakings such as for example Peshkar Productions is a better and more far more appropriate use of such funds than The Coliseum , since they do seem to be attracting the very same, “newer and younger clientele, “(I think you mean audiences,) that are so obviously giving The Coliseum the cold shoulder.

          1. Nope I mean clientele – if you want the dictionary definition = customers of a place of entertainment.

            Agree yes the Tories are evil and only look out for themselves. They are ruining this country.

            I fully support what Peshkar do but it doesn’t mean that one should exist without the other.

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