Oldham Coliseum Theatre to re-open its doors following a hugely successful campaign

After a hugely successful campaign, the cherished Oldham Coliseum Theatre is poised to reopen, much to the delight of the local community and beyond.

This historic venue, which has been the cultural cornerstone of Oldham since its opening in 1885, closed in March 2023. Yesterday evening, a celebration took place in front of the iconic theatre on Fairbottom Street. This marked a triumphant moment in preserving 138 years of local heritage and artistry.

The celebration was significant, as Oldham is set to receive attention due to upcoming announcements related to housing projects, high street investments, and other developments. The Oldham Coliseum is playing a central role in the revitalisation of the town centre.

Actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and writer Ian Kershaw spearheaded the Save Oldham Coliseum campaign alongside a group of dedicated theatre lovers from the Oldham community. Over 100 people, including local residents, performers, politicians and partners, packed out Fairbottom Street to hear the good news first-hand.

“Oldham Council has listened to local people,” said Oldham Council Leader Councillor Arooj Shah. “I can now reveal that we will bring the Coliseum back to life in time for the Christmas Panto 2025.

“This is a cause for celebration for so many people who have come together to show their passion for the theatre and bringing the Oldham Coliseum back to life,” said Julie. “Oldham Council has shown a fantastic commitment to re-opening the Coliseum, and by working together, we can really put arts and culture at the heart of a transformed town centre. It feels like the start of a new, exciting era and it’s one that has been driven by the people of Oldham.” 

“We are formally committing £10 million for this major programme that will see our famous venue open its doors to the public once more. We are working together for the future of theatre in this town. It’s a big part of our plans – putting culture at the centre of transforming our town centre and creating a better Oldham for everyone.”

The plans to bring the Coliseum back to life will be formally approved by Oldham Council’s Cabinet next Monday (15 July).

A report to be discussed on the night highlights the work already taking place to create a better Oldham through the borough’s extensive regeneration programme. This includes the council partnering with world-renowned regeneration and placemaking expert Muse to build a brand-new town centre neighbourhood of 2,000 new homes. 

The reopening of the Coliseum puts culture at the heart of this new neighbourhood while supporting other businesses, attracting visitors, and creating new opportunities for local people. The town centre is already being boosted by a transformed Spindles—now home to more than 1,000 Oldham Council employees every day. A new co-working space and enterprise hub will open soon.

Spindles will also provide a new home for Tommyfield Market, including retail stalls and a brand-new food and drink hall. Construction of the market, which is being built in a newly extended section of the Spindles adjoining Parliament Square, is making great progress.

When complete, the new-look Spindles will also include a new venue for gigs and events above the market and a new local studies and archive centre. These new venues will be complemented by a brand-new food hall in the Old Town Hall’s Egyptian Room, which will open soon and run by one of the UK’s leading hospitality entrepreneurs, Northern Lights Group.

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