OLDHAM Coliseum Theatre has been awarded £243,000 as part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
The £1.57 billion fund was announced by the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to help 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country with urgently needed support.
£257m of investment has been granted as part of the first round of the programme, which is being administered by Arts Council England.
With a history stretching back 135 years, Oldham Coliseum Theatre is one of the oldest professional producing theatres in the UK.
Its year-round programme of drama, music and comedy includes award-winning in-house productions, a nationally renowned annual pantomime and top comedians, including BGT finalist Steve Royle, performing in a more intimate setting.
Off-stage, the theatre works with people of all ages and backgrounds across Oldham, offering support, training and a safe space to explore their creativity.
Chris Lawson, Artistic Director of Oldham Coliseum Theatre, said: “We’re thrilled to receive this grant. Culture creates jobs, supports livelihoods and brings joy – it is paramount in supporting our mental and emotional health.
“The Coliseum lies at the heart of Oldham’s community and is a key aspect of Greater Manchester’s cultural offering.
“There’s still a way to go before we can reopen fully but thanks to this investment we can ensure our theatre survives this crisis and is here to continue its vital role for generations to come.”
Despite closing its doors on March 16 due to the coronavirus crisis, the Coliseum has continued to engage with its audiences and participants by producing and sharing great art and opportunities to be creative online, and from a safe social distance.
The theatre plans to re-open its doors to socially distanced audiences for the first live performance since March with a sold-out performance of local company Dare to Know Theatre’s debut play, Drowning on 12 November.
That will be followed by innovative virtual reality theatre Petrichor from award-winning ThickSkin Theatre on November 20 and 21.
Further covid-safe socially distanced events are planned for the autumn and winter months, with details to be announced in due course.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation.
“It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.
“This unprecedented investment is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come so the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages.
“This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences.”
Find out more about Oldham Coliseum and upcoming productions online: www.coliseum.org.uk
Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. Following the Covid-19 crisis, it developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support.
It is one of several bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. Find out more online: www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19