Oldham Coliseum confirms closure date after Arts Council England withdraws funding

Oldham Coliseum has been at the centre of theatre entertainment in the town for more than a century

The management of Oldham Coliseum has confirmed that the historic theatre is to close.

Despite a concerted campaign by supporters to keep it open, its been confirmed that the celebrated Oldham landmark will close its doors for the last time on 31st March.

In November of last year Arts Council England said that the Coliseum would no longer be part of its National Portfolio from the start of next month. Management tried to plug the gap in funding but with a third of its income coming from the Arts Council, and with their withdrawal affecting other potential sources, the curtain is finally coming down.

Management say that after a consultation period with staff, they remain the priority as the situation enters the redundancy stage.

The Coliseum has been at the heart of entertainment in the town for more than a hundred years, surviving two World Wars and the pandemic, and with many famous faces beginning their careers there. Planned events will continue until 25th March when the theatre will finally bow out.

Maxine Peake led a campaign to keep the Theatre open.

Arts Council England says its awarded £358,856 to Oldham Coliseum Ltd from its Transition Fund which supports organisations leaving the Arts Council’s national portfolio.

A spokesperson adds, “Oldham Coliseum Ltd’s closure is upsetting news for many and devastating for its staff.

"We are providing funding to ensure the company can pay full redundancies to its employed and freelance staff and that it can honour any outstanding contracts and agreements.

"Whilst recognising the current difficulties, we are supportive of Oldham Council’s plans for a new performing space which will carry forward Oldham Coliseum’s cultural legacy.

"We will be investing £1.85 million in the borough so that the people of Oldham will still have the opportunity to enjoy and take part in arts and culture.”