The Oldham Coliseum closed its doors for the final time on 31 March this year with their emotional farewell performance, ‘Encore’. Last weekend, on what would have been the opening performance of the theatre’s renowned pantomime, members of the Save Oldham Coliseum Campaign Group formed a flash mob through the town in a bid to reopen the Fairbottom Street building.
Kevin Leach worked at Oldham Coliseum since June 2006. For about 14 years he was a stage technician before becoming technical manager just before the pandemic. Though having to deal with redundancy himself, he campaigned to save the theatre too, and has posed questions to Oldham Council in his fight for answers and assurances for his colleagues.
It was a show unlike any other. With a cast of stars who began their careers at the Coliseum, with future stars of the stage and screen, with amateurs who have been welcomed onto that stage as they escape the real world with their love of theatre, the show encapsulated the spirit of the Coliseum. This was the last show at Oldham’s Fairbottom Street theatre.
“Lipstick on the pig of austerity” – Equity’s view on the Levelling Up agenda that’s decimating the arts
On Thursday 9 March, Equity met with the Arts Council for talks to save the Oldham Coliseum and the acting jobs it provides. Following this, the actors’ union held a press conference outside the Arts Council offices on Lever Street.
Oldham Coliseum played host to a star-studded line-up on 21 February, but it wasn’t the usual entertainment on offer. Actors from the North West joined members of the public to save the venue from closure. Coronation Street’s Jane Hazlegrove attended, and we caught up with her after the meeting to talk about her connection to the Coliseum.
The theatre and arts world was rocked on Tuesday by the decision to cancel all shows at Oldham Coliseum Theatre after their funding bid to the Arts Council was rejected. Some of the industry’s leading lights have spoken out about the decision and reflected upon what the historic venue has done for them over the years.