The Coliseum was listed as a ‘Levelling up for Culture’ venue by the Government and was hopeful they would retain funding from Arts Council England (ACE).
However the Coliseum’s application to remain in the Portfolio from 2023-2026 was unsuccessful.
The theatre applied for £615,182 a year over the three years, totalling £1,845,546.
Having been funded by ACE for decades, the Coliseum’s current business model relied on this funding, and as such the theatre is having to look again at how it will move forward.
The Coliseum’s Executive and Senior Management teams are working on this as a matter of urgency but having received this news only last Friday, the theatre does not yet have all the answers.
Speaking to I LOVE MCR, Artistic Director at the Oldham Coliseum Chris Lawson said: “We are determined to continue delivering our programme of shows, learning and opportunities as much as possible and we are surveying the options available to us.
“Our sincere thanks go to our peers, artists that we have worked with from across the UK and further afield and our amazing audiences for their very vocal support.
“Rest assured that we’ll do everything we can to help the Coliseum thrive even under the most difficult of circumstances.”
“We are currently in tech for our annual pantomime which is the highlight of the year for so many of our audiences.
“Come and spend a few hours with us this festive season and celebrate the Coliseum’s phenomenal contribution to Oldham and the wider theatre ecology.”
The history of Oldham Coliseum Theatre has its roots in Victorian England, making it one of the oldest theatres in Britain still in operation today.
The Theatre has a rich history, with many a famous face cutting their teeth on their stage.
Just a few of the names who have performed there are: Charlie Chaplain, Stan Laurel, Ralph Fiennes and Minnie Driver.
You can do an in-depth dive into the Coliseum’s history by clicking here.
Chief Executive Susan Wildman added: “For all those who have asked what they can do to help, the message is simple: please continue to support us financially or in whatever way you can.
“Buy a ticket and come and see the great work that we make. Please give a donation when you book. Think about how your business can work with us.”
“We understand the pressures that ACE faces in supporting as many organisations as possible and we thank them for all their financial support over many years.
“The theatre remains sincerely grateful for the support of Oldham Council, all its funders, sponsors, partners, and of course audiences and participants, particularly given the current financial climate and the pressures facing everyone in the UK at this time.”
In the meantime, the theatre is preparing to open its award-winning pantomime this weekend – this year is Robin Hood – and announcing 2023’s pantomime with tickets going on sale on Saturday 12 November – the opening day of Robin Hood – as is the theatre’s tradition.