Oldham Coliseum has been forced to take drastic measures after losing vital funding, announcing today that its entire Spring-Summer programme and its 2023 pantomime have been axed.
The beloved local theatre will cancel all its upcoming events and theatre shows, from Sunday 26 March onwards.
The news comes after the historic venue was dropped from Arts Council England’s National Portfolio from 1 April.
Oldham Coliseum said in a statement today that its board of trustees have been working hard to find a solution to the loss of funding, but has now had to take an ‘incredibly difficult decision’.
They added that ‘the current financial situation is not sustainable for the season as planned’.
Ticket-holders for cancelled shows, including their 2023/24 pantomime Sleeping Beauty, will be refunded automatically in the coming weeks.
The news has been met with dismay from the local community and those in the theatre world.
Hollyoaks star Annie Wallace said: “This was the news we’d been dreading. One of the north’s most important grassroots theatres, effectively killed off by the Arts Council withdrawing ALL funding. Remember… the Royal Opera House got £22 MILLION and still moaned about it. SAVE THIS THEATRE!”
Former MP Liz McInnes said: “This is tragic. @OldhamColiseum has been a part of Oldham life for literally as long as I can remember. I used to get taken to pantos there as a kid and grew up with a love of theatre. I do sincerely hope that funding is found – this is too important to just let it go.”
Theatre critic Mark Shenton posted: “What an ominous turn of events. @OldhamColiseum cancels all events after March 26, following the withdrawal of its @ace_national funding from April 2023. So ‘levelling up’ seems to mean losing a major theatre entirely.”
Someone else wrote: “Shocking that a theatre with such history and legacy must go dark. Hundreds of phenomenal actors, directors, writers and crew began their artistic journeys here. Stunned!!! I hope to see it rise again!”
The full statement from Oldham Coliseum:
“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.
“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. We are working with Arts Council England and Oldham Council to honour agreements with artists and producing partners.
“All events at the Coliseum until 26 March will go ahead as planned. Ticket holders for all other events will be refunded over the coming weeks. If you have paid for tickets using a debit or credit card this will be refunded directly onto your card. If you have paid for tickets using cash the Box Office team will be in touch to arrange an alternate refund method. 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.
“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.”
Featured image: Oldham Coliseum
Massive new musical featuring songs by Kylie Minogue and Rick Astley to have world premiere in Manchester
Manchester will host the world premiere of a massive new musical this autumn, when the official Stock Aitken Waterman musical debuts here.
I Should Be So Lucky will be a brand new show that will celebrate the legendary production trio, who were behind some of the biggest hits of the 1980s.
Stock Aitken Waterman worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, Bananarama and Jason Donovan, and more than 30 songs from pop royalty icons will feature in the new theatre show.
You can expect to be dancing in your seat at the Manchester Opera House to songs including I Should Be So Lucky, Never Gonna Give You Up, and Love In The First Degree.
The original musical will follow young couple Ella and Nathan as they take the biggest step of their lives – marriage – but it doesn’t all go to plan.
Promotional posters for the new production say ‘the wedding is OFF, but the honeymoon is ON!’.
I Should Be So Lucky has been written and directed by Debbie Isitt and choreographed by Jason Gilkison, and will open at the Manchester Opera House on 1 November.
It will then head to play the Christmas season at Leeds Grand Theatre & Opera House from 12 – 30 December 2023 as part of a UK tour, the dates of which will be announced soon.
Mike Stock said: “We have been approached many times over the years to authorise a musical using the songs from the Stock Aitken Waterman catalogue and have always resisted, until now! What Debbie, Jason and the team behind the show have created is a truly original and shamelessly enjoyable rollercoaster ride through our hits.”
Debbie Isitt said: “The music of Stock Aitken Waterman has been the soundtrack to both my life and the lives of all my friends. Their songs range from wonderful ballads to real pop anthems to dance floor classics, which are all perfect for an original musical.”
I Should Be So Lucky will be at the Manchester Opera House between 1 and 25 November. You can book tickets now here.
Featured image: Supplied
Mrs Brown’s Boys is coming back to Manchester with ‘classic play’
Mrs Brown’s Boys is returning to theatres across the UK this autumn, taking Mrs Brown Rides Again back on tour.
For the first time in 10 years, the ‘much-loved classic play’ written by and starring Brendan O’Carroll will be hitting the live stage.
Mrs Brown Rides Again is based on the hit sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys, which follows loud-mouthed Irish matriarch Agnes Brown (or ‘Mammy’) and her six children.
The play itself follows the dysfunctional family after Agnes learns that her children plan to have her put in a home.
While trying to prove that she has a new lease of life, she’s faced with a psychiatrist trying to put her in her place, a neighbour waiting for a heart bypass, and a family secret that everyone seems to know except her.
A new mini-series of Mrs Brown’s Boys has also been announced, returning to BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
It will be the first mini-series in more than a decade following years of regular Christmas specials, which usually dominate viewing ratings.
Over the years, the sitcom has been awarded five BAFTAs, four National Television Awards, three TV Choice Awards, four IFTA awards, three TV Times Awards as well as RTS, TRIC and National Comedy Awards.
On the new tour, Brendan O Carroll said: “The Pandemic is gone, and Mrs Brown is back. It doesn’t get any better.”
Mrs. Brown Rides Again will be at the Manchester Opera House between 30 August and 2 September this year.
Full tour dates for Mrs Brown’s Boys play, Mrs Brown Rides Again
Fri 25 Aug 23 Glasgow OVO Hydro Sat 26 Aug 23 Glasgow OVO Hydro (Matinee and Evening show) Wed 30 Aug 23 Manchester Opera House Thu 31 Aug 23 Manchester Opera House Fri 01 Sep 23 Manchester Opera House Sat 02 Sep 23 Manchester Opera House (Matinee and Evening show) Thu 07 Sep 23 Edinburgh Playhouse Fri 08 Sep 23 Edinburgh Playhouse Sat 09 Sep 23 Edinburgh Playhouse (Matinee and Evening show) Tue 12 Sep 23 Wolverhampton The Halls Wed 13 Sep 23 Wolverhampton The Halls Fri 15 Sep 23 Cardiff International Arena Sat 16 Sep 23 Cardiff International Arena (Matinee and Evening show) Wed 20 Sep 23 Liverpool Empire Theatre Thu 21 Sep 23 Liverpool Empire Theatre Fri 22 Sep 23 Liverpool Empire Theatre Sat 23 Sep 23 Liverpool Empire Theatre (Matinee and Evening show) Wed 18 Oct 23 Sunderland Empire Thu 19 Oct 23 Sunderland Empire Fri 20 Oct 23 Sunderland Empire Sat 21 Oct 23 Sunderland Empire (Matinee and Evening show) Fri 27 Oct 23 Hull Bonus Arena Sat 28 Oct 23 Hull Bonus Arena (Matinee and Evening show) Mon 30 Oct 23 Bournemouth International Centre Tue 31 Oct 23 Bournemouth International Centre Thu 02 Nov 23 Blackpool Opera House Fric 03 Nov 23 Blackpool Opera House Sat 04 Nov 23 Blackpool Opera House (Matinee and Evening show)