Your regular update on what’s going on behind the scenes here at Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
There’s still a few days left to catch Bring on the Bollywood before the run at the Coliseum ends on Saturday evening.
Inspired by classic Indian cinema, Bring on the Bollywood is a musical rom-com packed with catchy songs and incredible dancing.
Having lived in London for 14 years, Dr. Katrina Pawar is summoned to her ancestral home in India for her younger brother’s wedding. Her parents seize the opportunity to find a potential suitor for their sharp and sassy daughter when a good looking Bollywood film director arrives along with his newly eligible assistant, Ronny. Katrina thinks she’s in complete control, until she learns of her parent’s intentions…
Dr Katrina Pawar is played by newcomer Nisha Aaliya, who was discovered when she attended auditions as a choreographic assistant. Nisha is joined by a further cast of 13 celebrated British Asian performers and young rising stars including: Anthony Sahota, who was a finalist on Gary Barlow’s Let It Shine (BBC) and Robby Khela, whose work in music has seen him support the likes of Craig David, Blue, Lemar, Girls Aloud and Mis-teeq on tour. Coliseum audiences may well recognise Sakuntala Ramanee, who plays Katrina’s mother, from our smash-hit musical Meat Pie, Sausage Roll earlier this year.
Nisha (Katrina) and Robby (Ronny) appeared on local TV show Koffee With Khan earlier this week talking about the show. You can watch their interview online below:
Phizzical specialise in producing and commissioning classical, contemporary and popular arts influenced by Asian, Arabic and African cultures.
We announced our Autumn-Winter 2017/18 season last month and tickets are already selling fast. This Autumn/Winter the Coliseum presents a mixture of comedies, musicals and thrillers, not forgetting our nationally renowned traditional family pantomime.
The Coliseum’s Season Ticket starts at just £45 for four shows*, making it the best value theatre offer in the region. This Autumn/Winter’s Season Ticket includes: Oh What A Lovely War, Up ‘N’ Under and The Kitchen Sink plus a choice between The Weir from English Touring Theatre and Murder Weapon from Talking Scarlet Productions.
Season Tickets are available to buy until Saturday 30 September.
The new season opens singing in the trenches with ‘the mother of modern theatre’ Joan Littlewood’s ground breaking First World War satirical musical, Oh What A Lovely War. With songs including It’s a Long Way to Tipperary and Pack Up Your Troubles in your Old Kit-Bag Oh What A Lovely War tells the story of the conflict through song, dance and visual effects, performed by a troupe of end-of-pier entertainers.
Oh What A Lovely War runs from Friday 8 – Saturday 30 September
In October the Coliseum presents a revival of John Godber’s plucky underdog story, Up ’N’ Under. The Wheatsheaf Arms amateur rugby league team have never won a match, but when new manager and ex-pro, Arthur, makes a bet that he can train any team to beat the unbeatable Cobblers’ Arms side their luck starts to change.
Up ’N’ Under runs from Friday 6 – Saturday 21 October
Things aren’t going too well for Martin the Milkman and his family; his milk float is falling apart, son Billy is obsessed with Dolly Parton and daughter Sophie’s dreams of becoming a Ju-Jitsu teacher are disappearing down the plughole.
The Kitchen Sink runs from Friday 9 – Saturday 24 February 2018
Just in time for Halloween, English Touring Theatre make a return to Oldham with Conor McPherson’s chilling modern classic The Weir. In a small Irish town the locals exchange stories round the fire of Brendan’s pub one stormy night. The arrival of a young stranger, haunted by a secret from her past, turns the tales of folklore into something far more unsettling.
The Weir runs from Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28 October
There’s something suspicious afoot in Talking Scarlet Productions’ Muder Weapon in the new year. Chief Constable Bligh accompanies her friend Diane home after a night at the opera, and finds Diane’s husband dead, and ex-convict Charley Mirren standing over his dead body holding a gun. It appears to be an open-and-shut case, but they soon discover all is not what it seems…
Murder Weapon runs from Tuesday 30 January – Saturday 3 February
Last, but certainly not least, the highlight of the festive season is always the Coliseum’s nationally renowned traditional family pantomime. This year it’s Dick Whittington. Poor young lad Dick Whittington leaves his home in the country and travels to seek fame and fortune in London with his rat-catching cat as his only friend. Are the city’s streets paved with gold? Will his path to happily-ever-after be an easy one?
Packed with laugh-out-loud gags, thigh-slapping songs and a generous helping of “it’s behind you”, the annual Christmas spectacular runs from Saturday 11 November 2017 – Saturday 13 January 2018.
Book tickets here *Pantomime is not included in the Season Ticket deal.
On Thursday 7 September at 7.30pm our Studio theatre will host Postgraduate students from ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) with their production of Craig Taylor’s One Million Tiny Plays About Britain, directed by Coliseum Associate Director, Chris Lawson.
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 overly-vigilant mothers wrestle with their paranoia in the queue for Santa’s Grotto; a widow recounts her disastrous return to the world of dating, and a father realises that his son is growing away from him as he helps him tie his football boots.
In these snippets of overheard conversations from across the length and breadth of the country, Craig Taylor captures the state we’re in with humour, pathos and perfect timing.
“The Coliseum’s work with ALRA is part of an ongoing partnership that creates an important link between the theatre and a leading drama school in the North West. This touring production is a fantastic platform for Postgraduate students and for audiences to see the next generation of actors from the region.”
– Chris Lawson, Associate Director, Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
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.
This month, the Coliseum held a celebration which brought the ‘Senior Citizens Luncheon Club’ from Glodwick and residents from Charles Morris House in Failsworth together to share their memories and treasured objects.
Working with The University of Manchester, New Charter Group and Housing and Care 21, the Coliseum delivered workshops with both groups to explore what the concept of ‘home’ means to our older generation. The sessions focussed on objects, home, ageing and well-being and used storytelling, drawing and a good cup of tea to explore their experiences.
Footage courtesy of The University of Manchester, filmed by ShortForm
A cast of professional actors performed a piece of theatre using their stories in the Coliseum’s Studio Theatre and we created an exhibition in collaboration with the groups, putting their experiences, early memories of home and their treasured objects in the spotlight.
The project engaged with a pressing healthcare issue: the physical and social isolation of older people within the home, the challenges of residential care provision and the importance of ‘home’ on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The findings will form a key element in the university’s on-going research into ageing and care and there are plans to display the exhibition created by the groups at the university.
“‘Home’ can mean many things: a place, a building, a group of people, a feeling, things, a time. Across time and geography, the idea of Home has been a powerful motor to individual and social change. Home is integral to who we are and who we want to be.”
– Professor Julie-Marie Strange, History Department, The University of Manchester
The end of the school year also means it’s the end of year for the Coliseum’s Teaching Theatre Pathways programme, which culminated in an exhibition of this year’s participants’ work in the Coliseum’s Education Suite.
Teaching Theatre Pathways is aimed at young people aged between 17 and 24 who are not currently in education, employment of training (NEET) who are interested in learning new skills in a creative and dynamic environment.
Starting each year in September, the programme offers hands-on work experience in a range of theatre-based skills including: Lighting, Wardrobe, Sound Design, Stage Management, Marketing and Development, the opportunity to learn from our professional teams, and support in finding employment or getting back into education.
Teaching Theatre Pathways piloted in 2015 and to date has an almost 100% success rate in participants either finding employment or entering further education.
“I first heard about the session when I called the Coliseum looking for technical theatre opportunities. I really enjoyed Teaching Theatre Pathways. I learnt a lot about how a producing theatre works and all the people who work hard to keep it running. One of my favourite experiences was helping to write the TheatreLAB show ‘The Components of People’ and also designing the lighting for that show. I feel more confident in communicating with other people and working as part of a team. I can see myself pursuing a career in technical theatre.”
– Anja Jungmayr, Teaching Theatre Pathways Participant 2016-2017
The next term of Teaching Theatre Pathways will start on Monday 4 September, with sessions running on Mondays from 12noon – 2pm.
If you’d like to know more about Teaching Theatre Pathways contact our Learning and Engagement Officer: Young People, Ben Hallworth on 0161 785 7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cash For Kids, the official charity of Key 103, support the Coliseum’s work with local schools through our Education Partnership Scheme. Our Learning and Engagement Department worked with 12 schools this academic year culminating in three inter-school performances in March. With the continued support of Cash for Kids, we’re excited to be extending our work with schools for the 2017-18 academic year.
Danny Simpson, Board Member of Key 103 Cash for Kids, came along to the Coliseum to watch the students’ performances:
“We’re really pleased to be working with Oldham Coliseum Theatre again. The project they delivered last year was amazing and really made a difference to so many children in the Oldham community.
The team at the Coliseum are an amazing set of people who always want to get the best for the children they work with, and this is great example of them doing just that – to help other schools that need a little financial support, which will allow more children to get involved in the project they do. If you get chance to watch the final performance at the end of this year’s project you’ll see the difference it makes.
We are always happy to support local initiatives, as we see ourselves as an extension of every community in the Manchester area. This is what we are all about, it’s fantastic for the people of Oldham and Manchester to see the money they help raise here at Cash for Kids go back into their community. We are strong believers and advocates of this mantra – money raised locally will stay locally. We are so proud of all the projects we support, and we hope to support even more projects this year.
It’s also great for us to be able to continue our support as we know Oldham Coliseum Theatre supports us with fundraising and the Mission Christmas campaign, which will be here again before you know it!
Well done and good luck to the Coliseum and the children of Oldham! We can’t wait to come and watch you all again the end of year performance.”
The Education Partnership Scheme uses a programme of activities, training and mentoring to engage young people in the theatre and support learning through drama. Students have the opportunity to take part in master classes with theatre specialists, visit the Coliseum to see productions and work together to co-write and produce their own inter-school performance on the Coliseum’s Main Stage.
If you’d like to learn more about the Education Partnership Scheme contact our Learning and Engagement Officer: Education, Sarah Eastaff at email@example.com
Introducing Emma Cook, one of Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Deputy Stage Managers (DSMs).
How long have you worked at the Coliseum?
I’ve been here for nine years.
What has been your favourite production since working at the Coliseum?
The park show, Star-Cross’d, was great because it was so different. It involved so many hours just running around in the rain with seven sets of keys, and trying to remember which one you needed next.
What is your favourite aspect of working at the Coliseum?
All of the people who are here; it’s like a giant family. The people are just brilliant and the minute anything goes wrong everybody jumps in to help and fix things, whether that’s on stage or in real life.
There was one day during Satin ’n’ Steel where the entire technical team were building all the lights into things, which in some cases involved stuffing electroluminescent cable into a sock and taping it up to hide it, which was funny: “How are we going to mask this?” “Just gonna coil it and then stick it in a sock”. It’s unconventional but it works. Theatre is great for teamwork, you can see that with the young people who take part in Teaching Theatre.
What are you currently working on?
I’m making bunting for Oh What A Lovely War with my new found sewing skills, I learnt to use a sewing machine the other week.
Really it’s Oh What A Lovely War and Up ‘N’ Under with some bits of Dick Whittington thrown in as well, because we don’t like to just do one show at once, if we can get ahead. But also because it’s nearly summer I’m working on the prospect of my holidays.
What are you currently looking forward to?
A nice rest over summer and then kicking off the new season. It looks like it should be really exciting, loads of stuff to do.
Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
The reason I work in theatre is because of a donkey.
I spent a lot of time living on my auntie’s farm when I was a kid and we knew lots of people who were involved in various livestock and horse related worlds. A friend of hers had a horse box that he hired out to people, to take their horses to shows and competitions et cetera, and when Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat was touring into Leeds Grand Theatre and the Alhambra in Bradford they contacted him to bring a donkey from a donkey sanctuary – because there’s a donkey in one scene that walks across the stage. There were a couple of nights that he couldn’t do, so we took the donkey in our horsebox. I must have been 13 or 14 at the time.
They said I could sit at the side of the stage and watch what was going on, as long as I didn’t touch anything. I think it was in the Alhambra where they stood me behind the DSM; I had absolutely no clue what on earth this person was doing but I looked at them and thought “I wanna do that!” And now I do that. It’s kinda weird but it makes me smile.
The Coliseum’s House Manager, Heather Shaw, recently ran a work experience workshop for 15 young people who are getting ready to finish their secondary education, and have an interest in all aspects of theatre. Heather spoke about our Front of House team, how important customer service is for any employment and the value of volunteering.
“It’s really great to be able to speak to young people about the power of volunteering as it helps people in many different ways. I hope it opened their eyes about just how much volunteering is respected and needed in the community”.
– Heather Shaw, House Manager, Oldham Coliseum Theatre
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.
Oldham Coliseum Theatre gratefully acknowledges funding from: