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Details of an artistic programme to be staged at mobile venue from next month coincide with push by opposition politicians on Oldham Council for the theatre company to return to its former home.

The interior of the Roundabout pop-up theatre
The Roundabout pop-up theatre was developed by touring company Paines Plough

Paines Plough

Oldham Coliseum has announced it will make use of a 167-seater pop-up theatre to host a variety of events beginning it late April, a year after it was forced to leave its historic premises having lost Arts Council England funding.

Coliseum at the Roundabout,will utilise a pop-up theatre developed by touring company Paines Plough to offer an artistic programme, while individuals as well as artistic, community and other groups are being invited to use the venue for a range of activities.

Details of the company's plans for this year come as Oldham Borough Council's Liberal Democrat opposition group is pushing for existing regeneration cash already earmarked for the town to be used to reopen the former Oldham Coliseum site on Fairbottom Street, which closed in April 2023.


Liberal Democrat Leader of Oldham Council Howard Sykes said his party believes it is possible to bring its former home back into use, pointing out that a study published in September, which was commissioned by the Coliseum board, concluded the building is not beyond repair and could be used again. 

"That’s why we’re bringing a motion to Oldham Council this month which will commit the council to reallocating the funds and making the necessary investigations so that the Oldham Coliseum can stay in its home,” he said.

“The Coliseum is an Oldham treasure. The council has not done all in its power to protect it.

“It is possible for the Labour administration to reallocate funds from other town centre regeneration projects which are already connected with the future of Oldham Coliseum. Doing this would bring forward the funds needed to make the repairs needed at the Fairbottom Street site."

Labour-run Oldham Council is currently pushing ahead with efforts to transform a former Post Office and Quaker meeting house in the town and make it the new home for Oldham Coliseum by 2026 at a cost of around £24m.

The theatre company is also receiving £860,000 for the 2023-26 period to allow it to continue producing and performing theatre in the town and prepare for a planned move to a new home.

Speaking about planned events for this year, Lauren Clancy, Interim Chief Executive of Oldham Coliseum Theatre, said the company has been working with community groups as part of an engagement process to look at what they would like to see in Oldham. 

"The Coliseum at the Roundabout is a lynchpin for those plans - a beautiful, theatrical space that will offer artists, community groups and audiences the chance to explore, develop and experience theatre in different ways," she said.

Arooj Shah, Labour Leader of Oldham Council, said: "I’m delighted that we as a council are working hand in hand with Oldham Coliseum on their spring and summer programme. 

"The plans, including the pop-up theatre set to open next month, will give local people and community groups the chance to take part in new and exciting activities, as well as giving us all the opportunity to go and enjoy some brilliant performances.

"As we move forward with the Coliseum on our joint plans for Oldham’s new theatre, it’s so important that we keep working together to provide cultural, artistic and educational opportunities in the meantime – keeping the Coliseum’s proud legacy of producing theatre beating in the heart of our town."