Two world premieres lead the way in Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s new season

Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Spring-Summer 2018 season features not one, but two world premieres, plus home-grown productions of popular West End hits across comedy and drama.

The season opens on Friday, March 16 with a new adaptation of Compton Mackenzie’s comedy classic Whisky Galore.

The islanders of Great and Little Todday are dismayed to find their whisky supply dwindling as the government diverts the precious stuff to the Americans.

When a 50,000 bottle cargo shipwrecks close by, welcome relief seems to be at hand – until stuffy Paul Waggot of the Home Guard takes it upon himself to prevent the thirsty islanders from taking advantage of their good fortune.

From writer Philip Goulding, this adaptation is a tribute to the feisty, fearless all-female touring companies of the post-war years.

Under the direction of the redoubtable Flora Bellerby, witness the Pallas Players as they play all the hilarious characters from Mackenzie’s tale in an innovative and beguiling play that breathes fresh life into a well-loved masterpiece.

Following a three-week run at the Coliseum Whisky Galore will embark on an eight-venue national tour, visiting Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke; York Theatre Royal; Hull Truck Theatre; New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme; Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds; Cast, Doncaster; Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and Salisbury Playhouse.

Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Kevin Shaw, commented: “Touring our home-grown productions is a great way to showcase the Coliseum’s work and promote Oldham as a whole to a national audience.

“We’re really looking forward to presenting this exciting new adaptation for audiences across the UK.”

Then from Friday 20 April – Saturday 5 May the Coliseum presents Alan Ayckbourn’s first play and West End hit, Relatively Speaking.

This comedy of misunderstanding involves two couples, one young and co-habiting and one older, married and fraught.

A hilarious combination of twists, turns and confusion, plus a smattering of infidelity occurs when inexperienced Greg finds a pair of strange slippers under the bed and decides to follow his girlfriend.

Relatively Speaking will be directed at the Coliseum by Robin Herford, who spent his early career working with Alan Ayckbourn at The Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

And then Salford comes to Oldham from Friday 25 May – Saturday 9 June in Shelagh Delaney’s landmark play A Taste of Honey.

Recognised as the precursor to Coronation Street, A Taste of Honey was one of the most controversial plays of its time.

Jo is a teenager who is abandoned by her alcoholic mother. She becomes pregnant by a sailor and befriends a gay art student, with whom she makes a temporary home.

Written by Delaney when she was just 18, A Taste of Honey took the West End by storm and was later made into a film starring Rita Tushingham and Dora Bryan.

Next up, award-winning television and theatre writer Ian Kershaw takes us back to 1912 in Bread & Roses from Friday 22 June – Saturday 7 July.

Packed full of songs and laughs, heart and soul, this brand-new musical tells the gripping real life story of the huge mill workers’ strike in the town of Lawrence Massachusetts.

20,000 immigrant workers from more than 30 different nationalities were led in strike mainly by the female workforce who fought not just for the bread for their daily existence, but also for the roses, a symbol of dignified conditions, in order to enrich their lives.

The heroine, Lucy-Rose Atkins uses her strong heart and fierce intelligence to navigate a testing journey of love, loss, lies and deceit, taking her from unskilled worker to impassioned leader.

Bread & Roses features music from the time of the strike – songs that rouse rabbles, shake houses and lift roofs.

Whisky GaloreRelatively SpeakingA Taste of Honey and Bread & Roses form the theatre’s Season Ticket offer for Spring-Summer 2018, giving audiences the opportunity to see all four productions for as little as £50.

Last, but certainly not least, the Coliseum will also host a fantastic array of special events including: treats for the young and young at heart with Sing-a-long-a Beauty and the Beast and The Tiger Who Came To Tea, musical treats with tributes to Buddy Holly, Elvis, Queen and Sir Elton John and a special performance from Bernard Wrigley and the celebrated Rivington & Adlington Band in Brassed Off, A Brass Band & Bernard. 

Find out more and book tickets on Oldham Coliseum’s website.

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