Your regular update on what’s going on behind the scenes here at Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
This week we started rehearsals for our first production of the Autumn-Winter season, Oh What A Lovely War.
Oh What A Lovely War is a satirical musical that tells the story of the First World War from the perspective of the soldiers in the trenches; with songs including: It’s a long Way to Tipperary, Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag and Goodbye-ee.
We have a talented cast of ten actor musicians with us for this show, including: pantomime favourite Richard J Fletcher; David Westbrook – who was last at the Coliseum for Sleeping Beauty; Lauryn Redding, who was part of our all-female musical Dreamers in 2015; Barbara Hockaday, who last performed at the Coliseum in Alfie in 2012; and Matt Connor, who was in Close the Coalhouse Door in 2014. They’re joined by actors treading the Coliseum’s boards for the first time: Isobel Bates; Jeffrey Harmer, who has recently completed a national tour of Ray Cooney‘s Out of Order; Reece Richardson; Anthony Hunt, who performed in the West End production of The Commitments for a year; and Thom Petty.
Oh What A Lovely War premiered in 1963 and is perhaps the most famous musical from ‘the mother of modern theatre’ Joan Littlewood. Littlewood was the founder of Theatre Workshop, an improvisational company that created opportunities for the working class; Theatre Workshop formed in Manchester in 1945 and toured extensively around the UK until they settled at Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1953. To this day Littlewood continues to influence British directors and fringe companies everywhere.
One Million Tiny Plays About Britain is Craig Taylor’s story of everyday life taken from snippets of overheard conversations from across the length and breadth of Britain: a bride-to-be finds herself worse for wear at the end of a hen night, a funeral director’s love of Manchester United proves unhelpful when talking to the bereaved, two mothers wrestle with their paranoia in the queue for Santa’s Grotto…
One Million Tiny Plays About Britain will be presented by Postgraduate students from ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts). It comes to the Coliseum Studio on Thursday 7 September. Learn more and book online here.
On Saturday 9 September Hercules Productions come to the Coliseum Studio with Prison Game. Using real life accounts of extraordinary experiences, Prison Game deals with the effects of institutionalisation on the psyche through a gripping one-man physical theatre performance. When prison is your world, how do you function within society? Learn more about Prison Game and book online here.
We’re looking for talented young people aged between 8 and 15 to join the chorus of our famous pantomime. Auditions take place on Sunday 10 September.
The Coliseum’s annual traditional pantomime is nationally renowned, described by North West End as “the best pantomime you’ll see this year” and What’s On Stage as “one of the best family pantos in the country”. It’s the biggest show of the year at the theatre, attracting audiences of over 35,000 people.
Dick Whittington tells the tale of a poor young lad who sets off to seek fame, fortune and adventure in London with his rat-catching cat.
We’re looking for three teams made up of both boys and girls to perform alongside the Coliseum’s pantomime stars in this fun-filled theatre tradition – packed with singing, dancing, laughter and a generous helping of “IT’S BEHIND YOU!”
Audition slots can be booked by emailing Anna Hughes at email@example.com or downloading an application form from the Coliseum’s website at: www.coliseum.org.uk/pantomime-chorus and returning it via email. Audition times will be allocated based on age.
Those interested in joining the pantomime chorus must be able to dance and should wear clothes that they can easily move around in to their audition. The audition will also include some singing with Musical Director Dave Bintley. There is no need to prepare anything in advance.
If chosen to be part of the chorus, each young person needs to have approximately six full days and four half-days off school for performances.
We’re inviting young people to join us for an intensive three day workshop to create a play completely from scratch, using the quote from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” as inspiration
Dates for Play in Three Days are:
Wednesday 23 August, 10am – 4pm
Thursday 24 August, 10am – 4pm
Friday 25 August, 10am – 5pm (Performance begins at 3.30pm).
The performance on the Friday will take place on the Coliseum’s Main Stage in front of a panel of industry professionals who will give individual advice and feedback on your performance.
It costs just £15 to take part in Play in Three Days. If you’d like to join us please contact Box Office on 0161 624 2829. Places are limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis.
From September, TheatreLAB will be working towards staging a new play, The Future is Bright. Working with Sarah Eastaff, Learning and Engagement Officer: Education, TheatreLAB will use physical theatre inspired by Frantic Assembly to create a dystopian future where young people fight for their rights.
TheatreLAB meets on Tuesday evenings from 6 – 8pm (£3 per session or pay what you can). If you have any questions about next term or would like to book on email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rehearsals will run from 6pm-8pm at the Coliseum on the following dates:
Performance: week beginning 30 October, date and time TBC.
The Steering Group (TSG)
We’re looking for young people aged 13-25 who are passionate about theatre and the community to join our Youth Steering Group. Your voice is critical in helping to shape our projects, initiatives and performances and you’ll work on a range of projects and represent the Coliseum at press nights. You’ll also be allocated a specialist mentor to contribute to your continuing learning and development.
This term TSG will be designing and leading an interactive activity at our October Fun Palace.
Joining the Steering Group can:
TSG is free and takes place on the same dates as TheatreLAB (above) from 5pm – 6pm. To join, email email@example.com or call 0161 785 7000.
Introducing Stuart Bowkett, Housekeeping Manager and cake baking extraordinaire.
How long have you worked at the Coliseum?
I’ve been here since February, so it’s seven months.
What has been your favourite production since working at the Coliseum?
So far, probably Meat Pie, Sausage Roll because I’m a big football fan. Even though I support United not Oldham, I remembered that famous 1990/1991 season well.
What is your favourite aspect of working at the Coliseum?
A bit of everything to be fair. No two days are the same and the interaction between everyone is really great.
What are you currently working on?
We’re currently deep cleaning the whole of the theatre, getting ready to welcome our audiences back in for the new season starting in September.
What are you currently looking forward to?
I’m really looking forward to the new building. We’re going to be basically starting all over again and there will be new challenges with the size of the new theatre. I can’t wait to get stuck in.
Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
I go out with a French guy but I don’t speak the language, so I have to use Google Translate to talk to his family!
Experience Coliseum productions up close, uncover hidden talents in a creative working environment and meet new people.
We’re always on the lookout for friendly and reliable people to join our team of Customer Experience Volunteers, who help to look after our audiences from greeting them in the foyer, to selling programmes and ice creams, taking them to their seats and much more.
Customer Experience Volunteers must be 18+ and able to commit to a minimum of three months volunteering with us. No experience is needed as full training is provided.
Oldham Coliseum Theatre gratefully acknowledges funding from: