Oldham News | Main News | Council ‘committed’ to ‘finding the best way forward’ for theatre in Oldham following shock Coliseum news
Release date: February 02, 2023
The Colosseum Theater announced Tuesday that it was forced to cancel all of its performances from late March through 2023 and through 2024
While the fallout follows news earlier this week that Oldham’s iconic Coliseum Theater has canceled all events after June 26.
The theater announced on Tuesday it was forced to cancel all of its performances from late March through 2023 and into 2024 after it was announced last November that the Colosseum would no longer be part of Arts Council England’s national portfolio from April 1 will. 2023, which means a massive cut in funding.
Theater bosses had hoped that by being listed as a Leveling Up for Culture venue, Oldham would retain the support of Arts Council England as the national portfolio organization in implementing its Let’s Create strategy.
However, the Colosseum’s request to remain in the portfolio from 2023 to 2026 was unsuccessful.
The theater claimed £615,182 per year for the three years, for a total of £1,845,546.
Oldham Council leader Councilor Chadderton said: “Like most people in Oldham, I am absolutely devastated by the news that Oldham Coliseum has canceled scheduled shows after the end of March.
“I know how difficult it has been for everyone at the Coliseum since early November when they were told they would no longer be part of the Arts Councils England National Portfolio and the impact that would have on their financial situation.
“Oldham has a hugely successful acting heritage, the current Doctor Who assistant is from the Oldham Theater Workshop and half the country is waiting for the next installment of Happy Valley, starring Oldham’s Sarah Lancashire.
“Oldham Council is committed to ensuring that Oldham continues to have a thriving supply of performing arts and culture and over the coming months this will include working with the Coliseum to identify the best path forward for the future of theater in Oldham. “
Local MPs have also expressed their shock at the news of the Coliseum.
Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams said: “I know I won’t be the only one who will be devastated by the news that Oldham Coliseum is canceling upcoming shows from the end of March.
“The Colosseum is part of Oldham’s heritage. So many great artists learned their craft there.
“With national funding gone, this is yet another example of how the government’s endless talk of ‘leveling’ is just hot air.”
Oldham West and Royton MP Jim McMahon added that he will work with Ms Abrahams to “secure his future”.
“Oldham Coliseum is an important social and economic treasure for Oldham and beyond,” he posted on social media.
Meanwhile Howard Sykes MBE, councilor to the Liberal Democrat leader of Oldham, has slammed Arts Council England bosses for “shameful neglect of the heritage of the North” following their decision to cut funding for the Colosseum.
Councilor Sykes said: “The decision to withdraw all funding from the Colosseum is particularly difficult to make as venues in London and the South are still attracting tens of millions of pounds despite having their funding cut.
“However, there are no cuts here in Oldham – the Arts Council has pulled the plug completely instead.
“The Colosseum is a valuable institution with an outstanding regional and national identity.
“This is a shameful neglect of northern art heritage.”
High-profile stage, film and television actors Maxine Peake and Julie Hesmondhalgh – who have both stepped onto the Coliseum boards over the years – are now supporting the move to the #saveOldhamColiseum
Well over 7,000 people have already signed a Save Oldham Coliseum Theater petition and a GoFundMe page has been launched.
Julie tweeted: “There is a big appetite to save the theater and awareness of how much it means to Oldham and the Greater Manchester theater community is the first step.
“Rest assured that talks are ongoing.”
The Colosseum has been in the heart of Oldham since 1885; It is the last professional theater in the borough and one of only 32 regularly producing theaters in England.
The theater is an arts and education charity that supports Oldham’s communities, performers and of course entertaining audiences.
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