Arts & Culture

Oldham Coliseum theatre saved from closure

Featured Image: Sebastian Gößl from Pixabay

Oldham’s Coliseum theatre, which closed in 2023 after more than 135 years, is predicted to reopen by the end of 2025 following a successful campaign to save the venue. 

The theatre will undergo a £10m (€12m/$13m) refurbishment with hopes to open in time for Christmas 2025.

Led by English actor Julie Hesmondhalgh, the campaign sought to save the Coliseum after Arts Council England (ACE) withdrew its funding due to concerns over its management. The local council had also said that the building was not fit for purpose.

Oldham Borough Council had originally planned to replace the Coliseum with a smaller £24m theatre, but will now support the refurbishment of the existing building.

Hesmondhalgh told BBC News: “It’s been a battle, but it’s been a battle of hearts and minds because Oldham people love this place. They love it as a theatre but they love it also as a place that is owned by them.”

An Arts Council England spokesperson added: “At Arts Council England, our priority is to work with the people of Oldham to make sure that they have access to the art and theatre that they want – which is why we’re investing £1.845 million over three years to support a creative and cultural programme in the borough, delivered by partners including Oldham Coliseum Theatre Limited and Oldham Theatre Workshop.

“While the Coliseum building belongs to Oldham Council and isn’t funded by the Arts Council, we know what a well-loved landmark it is, and recognise its link to the strong history of theatre in the town, and the work the campaign group has been doing to preserve it.”