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February 2017 Newsletter

Your latest update on what’s going on behind the scenes here at Oldham Coliseum Theatre.

Gaslight shines bright

Gaslight at Oldham Coliseum Theatre

Our production of Gaslight is proving to be a fantastic start to 2017 and is a hit with audiences and critics alike. Written by Patrick Hamilton in 1938, set in the Victorian era, Gaslight is a masterpiece of suspenseful writing guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat. Over 4,500 people have been to the Coliseum to see Gaslight so far and we still have a few performances left before the run finishes this Saturday evening. 

“This is a production that is at once dark and comedic, combining a gripping and disturbing plot with moments of well-timed humour.”
– The Reviews Hub

“The kind of play Oldham Coliseum Theatre was built for.” 
Northern Soul

Gaslight is so impactful that it gives its name to the psychological term ‘gaslighting’. The Coliseum’s production has further ‘creepy credentials’ through its association with another well-known stage thriller, The Woman in Black, sharing both its director, Robin Herford, and cast members: Damien Matthews, who has played Arthur Kipps in London’s West End and on national and international tours, and Paul Webster who played The Actor in London’s West End.  

If you’d like to book tickets for the remaining performances you can do so online, by phone on 0161 624 2829 or in person at Box Office.



Behind the scenes: Meat Pie, Sausage Roll – Memories of Oldham Athletic’s glory days 

Oldham Athletic 1990 - Manager Joe Royle and player

Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Stage Technician, Kevin Leach, grew up on Boundary Park Road, just a stone’s throw away from the football club. He’s a lifelong Oldham Athletic fan and attended his first match when he was just four years old. He spoke to us about growing up with Latics and meeting fellow supporters as far away as Nice, France.

“As kids growing up we used to sneak under the gates of the club and play on the pitch and in the stands. Then from about age 13 I started to help out at the club. I sold the Latics Review, which was a paper the club produced when we were in the Premier League, and then when I was old enough I sold programmes. My sister got a job at the club shop, which was known as Latique, in about 1987 and she went on to become manageress of the shop until around 1997-’98. I was part of Junior Latics, which was the junior supporters club, and my mum and I used to sit in the main stand.

I haven’t really got a detailed earliest memory, but I was the mascot in 1990 on my eighth birthday; it was the last home game of the season prior to the one in which Meat Pie, Sausage Roll is set. I was eight or nine during the 1990-1991 season when we played Sheffield Wednesday and Neil Redfearn scored the penalty in practically the last minute to win us the Division Two title. I was in the Looker Stand Paddock with a friend and his mum, and when the penalty went in I jumped on the pitch (but I jumped back off again because I was scared that I’d get into trouble). In reality everyone was running all over the pitch and I needn’t have worried. I remember that game well.

With Meat Pie, Sausage Roll it’s been really good getting some of the memorabilia and costumes together between my own collection and other supporters’. I’ve got quite a collection of old retro scarves and such, and through people I know within the supporters I’ve been able to get quite a few things together which has been great for research – it’s been really funny looking through the old programmes. I lived in London for four years and was part of OASIS, which is Oldham Athletic Supporters in the South, and a lot of my friends from those days still keep in touch and have offered quite a few items from their collection which has been really helpful.

I’ve met a lot of people outside of Oldham who started supporting Latics when they were going through their success years. The success that a little club like Oldham was having was unheard of; the way they were playing football and scoring freely. They were everyone’s second team; wherever you go, football fans will always know about Oldham Athletic and have some sort of story connected to those few seasons when we won the Division Title and went into the Premier League. I met some Liverpool fans in Nice once and when I told them I was from Oldham they kept saying ‘Frankie Bunn, Frankie Bunn!’ Frankie Bunn still holds the record for six League Cup goals in one match; from the third round against Scarborough in 1989. I’ve still got the ticket stub from that match.

I still go to matches, both home and away, as often as I can. For me, I was born in Oldham and Latics were my first club so I’ll always support them through thick and thin. It’s in my blood.”

Meat Pie, Sausage Roll opens on Friday 3 March.



Studio Theatre: Launching the 2017 season

Prison Game at Oldham Coliseum Theatre Studio

Alongside the Coliseum’s year-long programme of home-produced plays on our Main Stage we run a season of smaller-scale touring plays in our Studio Theatre from March – October, including our popular new writing festival, First Break.

The 2017 Studio season is bursting with exciting plays covering a myriad of topics – from feminism to boxing to life in prison. Opening the season in March the Studio hosts Scary Sh*t by Rhiannon Faith, which uses quirky dance theatre in a show about friendship, being a woman and asking for help (Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March) and Not Yet Suffragette by EntreprenHer, which combines a mix of feminist theatre and stand-up comedy to look at how far (or not) women’s rights have come since winning the vote (Saturday 18 March).

First Break Festival, our annual showcase of new writing and emerging theatre companies from across the North West, runs from 22 – 30 June. This year we have the return of our panel discussion with theatre practitioners, rehearsed readings from Box Of Tricks Theatre Company and the winners of our 2017 new writing competition, script-in-hand performances from Manchester ADP, a showcase of work by the Coliseum’s weekly writing group, Scribbles, and plays exploring everything from Richard III to the Blitz.

You can view and book for all Studio events on our website.



Learning and Engagement: Community Partnership

Oldham Coliseum Theatre Community Partnership Scheme

In 2015, Oldham Coliseum Theatre launched a Community Partnership Scheme, giving community and youth groups from across the borough the opportunity to create and share theatre on the Coliseum’s Main Stage.

Following on from the success of last year’s Portraits project, in which people responded to themes from The Pitmen Painters by Lee Hall, we’re once again embarking on a collaboration with local groups.

This year, in response to Spring and Port Wine by Bill Naughton, Greenhill Chai Ladies, adults from Somerset House and young people from KOGS (Keeping Our Girls Safe), Wild Things Drama and The Proud Trust will create performances around the themes of the play.

The Dinner Table will explore food, family traditions and relationships and will be open to a public audience on Monday 24 April (exhibition from 7pm, performance starts at 7.30pm). You’re warmly invited to support everyone taking part for a celebratory evening of performances and exhibitions.

For tickets, please phone Box Office on 0161 624 2829.



Working with MAHDLO

Oldham Coliseum Theatre working with MAHDLO

MAHDLO is a Youth Zone in Oldham town centre for 8-21 year olds offering a range of activities and opportunities for young people from across the town.  The Coliseum has been working with MAHDLO to run drama sessions twice a week as part of their Get Creative theme.

On Tuesday 14 March at 7.30pm young people that have taken the drama sessions at MAHDLO will perform The Components of People in the Coliseum’s Studio Theatre as part of double-bill alongside the Coliseum’s youth theatre group, TheatreLAB.

The Components of People explores family histories and the community around us, asking where are you from, where are you going and how do you fit?

“It’s been brilliant to work on this piece in collaboration with MAHDLO. We’re looking forward to bringing the groups together at the Coliseum, for them to share and discuss with each other the work that they’ve both created and perform in the theatre’s Studio.”
Sarah Eastaff, Learning and Engagement Officer, Oldham Coliseum Theatre.



Spotlight on: Development Manager John Edwards

Oldham Coliseum Theatre Development Manager John Edwards

Introducing John Edwards, Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Development Manager and film buff.

How long have you worked at the Coliseum?

I’ve worked here for four years. Before that I worked for various organisations including zoos in a Development Manager/Consultancy role.

What has been your favourite production since working at the Coliseum?

There are so many marvellous productions I couldn’t possibly pick just one. If forced to, I’d have to pick my favourite two – Educating Rita, which I thought was brilliant right down to the nuanced and imaginative set design, and the panto that I took my three year old daughter to, Sleeping Beauty. She sat transfixed by Norman Nutty and she still talks about him to this day.

What is your favourite aspect of working at the Coliseum?

My job allows me to meet with a broad variety of people from sponsors and partners of the theatre to audience members and managing directors of companies. They’re all interesting people and I like learning about why they think the Coliseum is an important part of the town.

What are you currently working on?

I’m liaising with all our present sponsors to discuss their continued support of the Coliseum. I’m also working with New Charter Housing Group, which helps people in the surrounding community to access culture on their doorstep, improve their wellbeing and facilitate a route to employment. Plus I’m beginning to develop a partnership with The University of Manchester to explore how theatre and the arts have a positive impact on older people’s lives.

What are you currently looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to our new home on Union Street and being involved in the process – seeing the building being constructed – it will be with us before we know it. I’m also looking forward to our Artistic Director, Kevin Shaw, directing Actor and former Artistic Director, Kenneth Alan Taylor, in Broadway hit The Father.

Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

I’m such a big Halloween enthusiast that I throw a Halloween party every year, and have even taken part in the New York Halloween parade, which is the largest participatory event in the world.


For more information about supporting the Coliseum contact John Edwards, Development Manager, on 0161 785 7018 or email  



Customer Experience Volunteers: Recruitment at University Campus Oldham

Customer Experience Volunteer recruitment at University Campus Oldham

This week members of the Coliseum’s Front of House team joined spokespeople from companies across Greater Manchester at University Campus Oldham’s Meet the Employer Event.  

The Meet the Employer Event offered students and recent graduates at University Campus Oldham the opportunity to discover vacancies and volunteering opportunities to enhance their CVs. The team from the Coliseum were in great company in the volunteering section alongside MAHDLO, Street Angels and Museum of Science and Industry.

Our team had a great day talking about the Coliseum and the role of Customer Experience Volunteers. A number of students completed application forms to join the Customer Experience Volunteers and will be coming to the theatre for interviews in the next few weeks. We also had the opportunity to meet tutors working on the Performance Theatre and Drama course and made plans to give a presentation on volunteering at the theatre for their students in the coming months.


If you’re interested in becoming a Customer Experience Volunteer click here or contact Admin Assistant, Rose Sergent, by phone on 0161 785 70007 or email



Join us: Board Members

Board Members of Oldham Coliseum Theatre

We’re recruiting for Board Members to join us at an exciting time of major change.

The role of Trustee is a voluntary position and contributes to the Theatre’s development, ensuring the Company fulfils its charitable purpose for the public benefit.  All of our Trustees are ambassadors for our work and our community.

An interest in theatre and experience of representing organisations both internally and externally at a senior level is desirable.

For an informal chat about the role or to apply please email your CV and covering letter explaining why the role appeals to you and what particular skills you could bring to


Oldham Coliseum Theatre gratefully acknowledges funding from:

Oldham Coliseum Theatre is a Registered Charity, No: 508829.
Oldham Coliseum Theatre Ltd Reg No: 1415547