Oldham Coliseum Will Close Its Doors In March

'Levelling Up' means catastrophe for Oldham
February 14, 2023

The countdown to the permanent closure of one of Greater Manchester’s most iconic theatre’s is underway.

It follows a decision in November by Arts Council England (ACE) to refuse a three year £1.8m application for “levelling up funding” for the Oldham Coliseum, which is situated in one of the most deprived boroughs in Britain.

In recent weeks, the theatre’s board of trustees and management have been forced into the closure decision after working unsuccessfully to try to come up with an alternative funding plan.

The theatre’s Shelly Ramsdale said: “The current financial situation is not sustainable for the running of a full-time theatre.

“It is with great regret therefore that we announce that we have entered into a consultation period with all staff and it is proposed that Oldham Coliseum Theatre will close its doors on Friday, March 31, 2023.”

In the meantime, the 138 year old theatre is working with ACE and Oldham Council to ensure a smooth transition period for the company, including funding to enable support for our workforce and honouring commitments to artists.

The Coliseum has been at the heart of theatre in Oldham for over 100 years, with a highly regarded history in the industry dating back to the Oldham Rep which launched the careers of many famous faces, including Charlie Chaplin, Bernard Cribbins, Ralph Fiennes and Minnie Driver.

All events at the Coliseum until Sunday 26 March will go ahead as planned. Ticket holders for all other events will be refunded over the coming weeks. Any donations made to the theatre when booking tickets for cancelled events and Our Coliseum members whose memberships are due to expire after 26 March will also be refunded. 

Shelly added: “Many of the Coliseum’s staff have lived in Oldham all their lives and worked with the company for over a decade. They are the priority for the company at this time.

“The Coliseum would like to thank its audiences, participants, sponsors, partners, funders, patrons, industry colleagues and friends for their support over many years.”