New Theatre Promised for Oldham Town Centre

Everything crossed for a creative renaissance for Oldham
May 23, 2023

If announcements are to be believed Oldham could be about to see a brand new state of the theatre built.

It comes in the week that Oldham Council has promised town dwellers the new space to replace the somewhat dilapidated Oldham Coliseum, on Fairbottom Street, which closed in March.

If the new theatre comes to fruition, scheduled for early 2026, it will finally see a fit for purpose “Glyndebourne of the north” as Oldham councillors once dubbed it back in March 1997, at Greaves Street.

The new board o fOldham Coliseum Theatre (OCT) Limited has also been given assurances by Oldham Council, that it will be installed as tenant of the new theatre, situated in the town’s cultural quarter.

Oldham Council has already submitted a proposal to Arts Council England (ACE) for the ringfenced £1.845m over the next three years – which would see OCT playing a key role in the delivery of the arts and cultural programme alongside other cultural organisations, but a decision is still awaited.

Construction of the new theatre is being funded by Oldham Council.

Duncan Craig

Duncan Craig, the chairman of OCT, has taken a seat on the performance space and partnership board, which will be responsible for overseeing the design and delivery of the new theatre.

Mr Craig, said: “My focus has been on listening to the Coliseum’s many friends, partners, collaborators and supporters – and I’m delighted that our conversations are starting to bear fruit.”

Recent discussions between the local authority and OCT have focused mainly on the delivery of high-quality arts and culture to the people of Oldham, at a range of venues across the borough ,in the lead up to the opening of the building.

OCT is also exploring new approaches to programming, creative learning, talent and audience development, whilst creating new partnerships to ensure the new theatre responds to the needs of the town’s diverse communities and creative professionals.

He added: “I look forward to continue collaborating with Oldham Council, ACE, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and others as we work together on delivering culture to the heart of Oldham.”

Emma Barton, Oldham Council’s executive director for place and economic growth said: “This is a key milestone in the future of theatre in the borough, ensuring arts and performance continue to thrive in Oldham, and ensuring that performers and audiences have a fully accessible, modern and sustainable new venue.”