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Oldham Coliseum looks set to close after withdrawl of Arts Council England funding in what would be a devastating blow to the community

In a tragic blow to Greater Manchester's theatre scene, the Oldham Coliseum, which has been entertaining audiences for over 100 years - is set to close.

The move comes after Art Council England withdrew funding for the theatre last November.

It is a devastating blow to the Theatre and Oldham community, and will leave a black hole in the area that is unlikely to be filled.

The news that they were to ‘go dark’ and cease all productions last month causes shockwaves through the theatre community in greater Manchester.

Last November, the Coliseum had applied for £1.84 funding to remain in the Arts Council England (ACE) portfolio across three years.

This was a major chunk of their business model and formed a huge part of the cash they would use to keep the theatre running.

The application was turned town by Arts Council England.

This was despite Oldham being named by the Government as a high priority for the ‘Levelling up for Culture’ areas.

In a devastating statement issued from their Twitter account this morning, they confirmed that the doors would be closing on Friday March 31st 2023.

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

“However, the current financial situation is not sustainable for the running of a full time theatre.

“It is with great regret therefore that we announce that we have entered into a consultation period with all staff and it is proposed that Oldham Coliseum Theatre will close its doors on Friday 31 March 2023.

“The Coliseum is working with Arts Council England and Oldham Council to ensure a smooth transition period for the company, including funding to enable support for our workforce and honouring commitments to artists.

“The Coliseum has been at the heart of theatre in Oldham for over 100 years, with a highly regarded history in the industry dating back to the Oldham Rep which launched the careers of many famous faces.”

Some of the famous faces that cut their teeth on the boards at Oldham Coliseum include Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel,  Ralph Fiennes and Minnie Driver at the beginning of their careers.

The statement from the Coliseum continued:

“Many of the Coliseum’s staff have lived in Oldham all their lives and worked with the company for over a decade.

“They are a priority for the company at this time.

“All events at the Coliseum until Sunday March 26 will go ahead as planned.

“Ticker holders for all other events will be refunded over the coming weeks.

“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 26th March will also be refunded.

“The Coliseum asks audiences to be patient while staff work through each transaction manually.

“The Coliseum would like to thanks its audiences, participants, sponsors, partners, funders, patrons, industry colleagues and friends for their support over many years.”

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