Council gives its backing to Oldham Coliseum Theatre's dreams of a new facility to accommodate its growing outreach programme.
Plans for Oldham Coliseum Theatre to move to a more suitable space have taken a step forward with an Arts Council England development grant of £450k to support a funding application for a new venue that will bring together a heritage, arts and leisure offer in a single integrated facility. The new building would be based in the town centre alongside an Oldham Heritage Centre, which is bidding for up to £3.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The facility would include a purpose-built 600-seat auditorium linked to a renovated Old Library building that will include a 150-seat studio theatre, offices, an education suite and storage. Oldham Coliseum has recently had to undertake a £1.5m refurbishment of its current venue to remove asbestos and update the heating system, but a growing outreach programme and increasing number of performances mean the theatre has outgrown its current premises. Artistic Director Kevin Shaw explained: “We reached a tipping point and had to make a decision to refurbish the Fairbottom Street venue in order to secure the future of the company”. Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, said: “The Council supported the recent refurbishment work to ensure the theatre could continue during the transition to a new and permanent venue where it can then thrive with an even brighter long-term future.”