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Venue cancels forthcoming programme due to 'unsustainable financial situation' after the funding it receives from Arts Council England was cut entirely.

Exterior of Oldham Coliseum

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Oldham Coliseum Theatre is cancelling all its forthcoming events, blaming the decision on a cut in funding from Arts Council England.

In a statement released today, the venue said said it will continue to stage events until Sunday 26 March, but cannot afford to continue beyond then.

The decision follows the organisation's removal from ACE's National Portfolio as part of funding decisions announced in November. Oldham Coliseum had previously received £600,000 a year from ACE, but will receive nothing for the 2023/24 financial year beginning in April.


"It is with great regret that Oldham Coliseum Theatre is cancelling all forthcoming events from Sunday 26 March 2023, including the Spring-Summer programme and the 2023-24 pantomime Sleeping Beauty," the statement said.

"Following the news on 4 November 2022 that the Coliseum will no longer be part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio from 1 April 2023, the Board of Trustees and Senior Leadership Team have been working hard to find a solution to this reduction in funding.

"The theatre put the pantomime on sale in November and announced the Spring-Summer season in early December with the best possible intentions, while still exploring options that may have enabled the continuation of the programme. 

"However, the current financial situation is not sustainable for the season as planned." 

'Incredibly difficult decision'

The statement added that the organisation are working with Arts Council England and Oldham Council to honour agreements with artists and producing partners.

"It has been an incredibly difficult decision to cancel the programme of events and we understand the disappointment this will undoubtedly cause. The Coliseum asks audiences to be patient whilst staff work through each refund transaction manually."

As a result of Arts Council England's funding decisions a total of 130 organisations previously funded through the portfolio missed out on funding altogether, and 35 of those that retained their NPO status suffered cuts of £50,000 or more.

In the wake of the funding rejection, Susan Wildman left her position as Chief Executive of Oldham Coliseum by mutual consent last month, with Chris Lawson, the venue's former Artistic Director, appointed as her replacement.



This makes sad news with dire consequences. The loss of the venue will have immense consequences. However, we have not seen the ACE report justifying its decision. We have not seen the conditions for funding which were agreed, say, three years ago. Were these conditions met? If not, why not?