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Oldham Coliseum Theatre to move location

  • Oldham Coliseum Theatre was built in 1887, but is now moving location
  • The move will cost £25million

Oldham Coliseum Theatre is moving to a new location, with construction work due to begin in March 2018.

The new building will be fitted with a 550 seat auditorium and 170 seat studio theatre. It will also have a rehearsal room and educational facilities, as well as improved front of house facilities - including a café bar and outdoor terrace area.

The theatre is currently situated on Fairbottom Street, but will be moving to Southgate Street car park site, with a frontage on Union Street. It will be next to Gallery Oldham, Library and Lifelong Learning Centre.

Kevin Shaw, Oldham Coliseum Theatre's Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said, “The current building is 130 years old and is reaching the end of its natural life. It has been pushed to its limit and there’s no more room for it to grow.” 

The current building makes it difficult for theatre-goers to purchase drinks at the bar during intervals, due to lack of space and facilities. The move will ensure that this isn’t an issue, as the new bar area will be bigger, and better equipped to accommodate more people.

Kevin said: “The current building just isn’t right for modern audiences but the Coliseum is the jewel in Oldham’s crown and we’ve made sure to choose a site where the warmth of the building can be maintained.”

With public lifts to all levels, the new building will be fully accessible for disabled and elderly audiences, which isn't the case at the current site. It will also have a bigger studio space, allowing more young people to be taught at the theatre, as part of the Coliseum’s Teaching Theatre programme.

The new building will be situated a matter of yards away from the Metrolink and town centre.

Kevin said, “We hope that the move will attract an alternative, night time economy - maybe people who don’t visit the theatre often or have never been before. It’ll give the Coliseum a real boost.”

The re-furb will begin in March 2018 and will cost £25million to complete. By Autumn 2019, the building itself will be finished and the remainder of the year will be spent fitting technical equipment.

Local resident Elizabeth, 79, said: “I’ll be sad to see it close; it’s somewhere everyone in Oldham has fond memories of visiting – I know I do anyway.”

Another local, Dave, 32, said: “It’s something to look forward to isn’t it? Oldham could do with something like this. I love taking my kids at Christmas to see the pantomime so I’m looking forward to seeing what the new place is like.”

The current Coliseum building will close its doors with a final pantomime performance, ready for a Spring 2020 opening at the new location.

For more information about the move or to see what’s on at the Oldham Coliseum Theatre, visit their website: http://www.coliseum.org.uk

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