Put your name on a seat at Millgate Arts Centre

ARTS lovers have a chance not only to go behind the scenes of the popular Millgate Arts Centre in Delph but also to play a vital role in exciting renovation plans.

The auditorium at the Millgate Arts Centre

An ‘Auditorium Appeal’ is being launched by the Centre to raise £50,000 to completely refurbish their auditorium and seating to make it some of the best in the area.

And there is a unique chance to back the project as just 160 people can donate to the cause and have their name inscribed on one of the new seats to be installed.

The current auditorium was built in 1972 when Saddleworth Players took over the former Co-op building with group volunteers including John Tanner.

“And it’s not been touched since then!” explained John, who still acts with Saddleworth Players as well as helping to maintain the smooth running of the Centre. 

“Now we’re looking to raise £50,000, half of which will replace the Edwardian-style cinema seats and the other half will be used on things like improved ventilation, lighting, and staging.

“Oldham Coliseum is moving to what will be a fantastic place but we want to be known as the best for amateur dramatics. 

“We want to have the best auditorium experience in the area.”

The Auditorium Appeal – which seeks support from audiences, local businesses and groups – will officially be launched at the Millgate Arts Centre Open Day on Saturday, June 16.

At the Open Day, visitors will be able to get a close-up look at the facilities the Centre is hoping to improve, including the set and backstage which will be open from 6pm-7.30pm.

The cast in one of Saddleworth Players’ productions

There will be a chance to meet all the groups which call the Centre their home: Saddleworth Players, Saddleworth Live, Saddleworth Concert Society, Saddleworth Film Society, and Delph Library.

And from 7.30pm-8.30pm, there will be a preview from Directors of next season and Saddleworth Players will perform a One Act Show, ‘Sisters, Sisters’, which is loosely based on the latest show ‘We are Three Sisters’ about the Bronte Sisters (running June 2-9). 

‘Sisters, Sisters’ is written and performed by the cast and crew of the Farndale Murder Mystery – everything that can go wrong will go wrong!

Tickets are free but limited to the theatre’s capacity. Please book in advance online. The bar will be open throughout and there will be a free buffet after the show.

Ian Shepherd, from Saddleworth Players, said: “The Millgate Arts Centre is not just a theatre, we host concerts, brass bands, plays, readings, shows, musicals, films and more.

“We have professional artists visiting as well as amateur dramatics groups, and we’ve even set up an art exhibition on the walls of the bar featuring local and professional artists.

“The Centre really is thriving and we’ve got a wider audience coming in to see lots of different things so we hope everyone helps to back our appeal.”

A series of fundraisers is being planned for later in the year, including a Charity Last Night of the Proms and a special pantomime ‘Jack & the Beanstalk’ at the Centre at Christmas, with details being kept a secret for now but meet some of the cast on June 16.

Some work is already planned for the Centre as it is being re-roofed this summer, while it recently had improvements made to its changing rooms toilets and disabled accessible entrance.

Find out more about the Millgate Arts Centre, and book tickets for any performances, online:

For more information about the Auditorium Appeal or to make a donation, email John Tanner at: johntanner@tannerbrothers.co.uk

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