Your regular update on what’s going on behind the scenes here at Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
On Monday 26 June at 7.30pm we’ll be announcing our programme of plays and events for Autumn-Winter 2017/18 at our twice-yearly Season Launch event.
Season Launch is a free evening at the Coliseum where our Chief Executive & Artistic Director, Kevin Shaw, discusses upcoming productions – with special guests, live entertainment and a question and answer session, giving audiences the opportunity to ask Kevin about past, present and future plays and future plans for the theatre.
At June’s Season Launch we’ll be announcing the plays and events that are coming to the Coliseum stage between September 2017 and February 2018.
Season Launch also gives audiences the opportunity to be the first to book Season Tickets and ensure they get their favourite seats. Box Office is open before and after the event and during the interval. All events for the season will go on general sale the following day.
Tickets for Season Launch are free but must be booked. Book your place at this special event by calling in at Box Office or phoning 0161 624 2829.
Our production stars twice former Coliseum Artistic Director, Kenneth Alan Taylor, as André – a proud and charismatic 80 year old man with dementia.
André is a charming gentleman who once had a glittering career as a tap dancer. He lives with his daughter Anne and her husband Antoine in Paris. Or was he once an engineer whose daughter Anne moved to London with her new partner Pierre? The trouble is, he can’t quite remember…
Learn more about the play from our cast in the trailer for The Father below:
The Father was written just five years ago and it has taken the world by storm. It is surprisingly funny, incredibly moving and brilliantly intelligent – but don’t just take our word for it – come along and find out for yourself.
A Bollywood musical rom-com inspired by classic Indian cinema, Bring on the Bollywood, comes to the Coliseum this July as part of a national tour. Packed with catchy songs and incredible dancing it tells the story of Dr Katrina Pawar’s journey to true love.
Having lived in London for 14 years, Katrina is summoned to her ancestral home 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…
Coliseum audiences may recognise a familiar face in the cast of this Bollywood extravaganza – Sakuntala Ramanee, back in Oldham playing Katrina’s mum, also played Padma in our Oldham-based musical, Meat Pie, Sausage Roll earlier this year.
Take a look at the music video for Bring on the Bollywood’s title track below:
Our popular festival of new writing and emerging talent from across the North West, First Break, opens a week today in the Coliseum’s Studio.
Running from Thursday 22 – Friday 30 June, First Break features a host of new and exciting touring theatre and rehearsed readings, plus a panel discussion from industry professionals who will be discussing the issues surrounding making plays, getting seen and breaking into the theatre industry.
Two of the events in First Break see writers develop rehearsed readings of their new work here at the Coliseum: on Wednesday 28 June at 7.30pm we present four short plays from the winners of the First Break Writing Competition and later that evening, at 8.45pm, a collective piece by the Coliseum’s script writing group, Scribbles.
Futurist: First Break Writing Competition, asked writers to imagine the future of their communities in one, two or five years’ time, looking at the social and political landscape of the North West. The four winning scripts: Macaroni by Sam Orton; Resistance by Megan Holland; The Warning by Aisling Caffrey and Waiting by Amie George get their professional debut at First Break as rehearsed readings.
“Towards the end of last year I felt exhausted with the world: Brexit, Trump – the harrowing mood of my Twitter feed. The subject gave me a chance to collect my emotions together and channel them into a medium where I could have a bit of fun and a (slightly dark) sense of humour about what might happen next (fingers crossed it isn’t a reality!)”
– Megan Holland
“I’m looking forward to seeing my play performed by professional actors and how the audience responds to it. I’m also looking forward to seeing how the other writers interpreted the brief.“
– Sam Orton
“The world seems a very uncertain place at the moment. When thinking about the future it’s easy to see parallels with the past. That’s what I drew upon to write.”
– Aisling Caffrey
“I’d seen a documentary in which hospital patients were waiting to find out if they were going to be able to have their life-saving operations that day, or if a lack of hospital beds would mean they were sent back home again. It was a heartbreaking situation to see people in. When exploring the idea of what might happen to the North West in the future I couldn’t help but remember this, and think about the current threats to the NHS”
– Amie George
Scribbles writing group meet fortnightly at the Coliseum over five sessions. Led by award-winning playwright and co-writer of hit musicals Meat Pie, Sausage Roll and Dreamers, Cathy Crabb, the group is open to everyone, including absolute beginners. Defeat the Clowns is a collective piece that Scribbles have written over three terms. The play follows a group of employees at a run-down theatre; some have been picked specifically to ruin the place, but others have been working there for a lifetime and won’t be letting go that easily…
“Defeat the Clowns is a story of how, in order to save something precious we need to work together. It was written collaboratively by writers from all stages in their career, from beginners upwards; the rehearsed reading will mark three terms work on writing the play and the first time the writers will have the chance to listen to it being read by actors.”
– Cathy Crabb
To learn more about all of the First Break Festival 2017 events and book tickets click here.
The Coliseum runs multiple groups throughout the year for young people to get involved, have fun and get experience in a range of theatre-making activities.
This year’s Teaching Theatre Pathways group are currently in their final term, working on personal projects that focus on one element of theatrical production. Teaching Theatre is for people aged 17-24 who are not currently in education or employment and are interested in learning new skills in a creative and dynamic environment.
“I never thought I would be designing lights and sound for theatre shows, let alone for one I helped create. I can’t wait to learn more and start developing my skills.”
Teaching Theatre groups work alongside the Coliseum’s professional teams to learn about Lighting, Sound, Set Design, Wardrobe, Marketing, Box Office and Customer Service. They also receive support in finding further education and employment opportunities across various industries in line with their interests. This year’s Teaching Theatre group’s outcomes will be exhibited at the theatre on Monday 3 July from 1pm.
The Coliseum’s youth theatre group for 13-21 year olds, TheatreLAB, are currently rehearsing for an interactive performance where the audience influence the direction of the play.
They’re working with Chris Lawson, Associate Director, and Hidden Track Theatre’s Elliot Hughes to devise a story that mixes theatre with live gaming, interactive storytelling and audience participation. Our actors will work with the audience to control the path the story takes – which means it could be different every time it’s performed.
TheatreLab’s performance will take place on the Coliseum’s Main Stage on Saturday 8 July at 4pm and 6pm. Tickets are £3 and can be booked via Box Office on 0161 624 2829.
If you, or someone you know, is interested in joining Teaching Theatre or TheatreLab, or would like to learn more about the Coliseum’s work with young people, contact Ben Hallworth, Learning and Engagement Officer: Young People on 0161 785 7000 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A very warm welcome to the Coliseum’s latest supporter, Gourmet Burger Kitchen.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen (or GBK for short) sell a range of crafted burgers – with classic, speciality, gluten free and vegetarian options – at over 90 restaurants across the UK. They opened their Oldham restaurant at the stunning Old Town Hall development on Parliament Square last year.
GBK are offering a pre-theatre bundle for less than £10. Ask in the restaurant or look in your next Coliseum programme for details.
Introducing Sushil Chudasama, here at the Coliseum on a three-month placement through the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS).
How long have you worked at the Coliseum?
I’ve been here with RTYDS for eight weeks, but I’ve worked here before in another incarnation – as an actor in the productions.
What has been your favourite production since working at the Coliseum?
It has to be Hard Times. The scale of the production was huge, what the actors achieved was monumental and the production team were excellent. I learnt a lot.
I really enjoyed Gypsy Queen, which was in the Studio, too. I thought it was great and was very impressed with the writing and acting, and thought it was directed brilliantly.
What is your favourite aspect of working at the Coliseum?
I would probably say how friendly and supportive everyone is. That’s been the best thing.
What are you currently working on?
I’m casting the rehearsed readings for the winning scripts of the writing competition as part of First Break. I’m also finishing the script for the Elders’ Company and rehearsing with TheatreLab.
What are you currently looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to my wish-list of actors for First Break saying yes and planning the rehearsals.
Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
I’m pretty good at doing most accents; that’s why I became an actor – I used to mimic accents. I did a play at HOME earlier this year where I did four different Greek accents and I once did a play at the Citizens’ Theatre in Glasgow where I played 20 characters in one night, with a total of 12 or 13 different accents.
On Sunday 4 June the Coliseum’s team of Customer Experience Volunteers had a special day of celebration as part of National Volunteers’ Week.
This event was a fantastic way for the theatre to say a huge thank you for the time our Customer Experience Volunteers give, but it’s not just about time; everyone in our volunteer team continuously works to maintain the Coliseum’s customer service standards and are always working hard to meet and exceed expectations.
It was a great day; staff and Customer Experience Volunteers met at Alexandra Park for a guided tour around the gardens followed by a lovely sit-down afternoon tea back at the Coliseum.
Our staff and volunteers had fun learning about the history of the park and taking photographs. The Coliseum made links with the team there which means our volunteers can keep up to date with weekly groups and activities happening at the park that they can get involved in.
There are a few new members in the Customer Experience Volunteer team and the afternoon tea at the theatre gave them a chance to get to know the rest of the team. There was a presentation of awards on a range of different topics including most volunteer sessions, best sales for the season and most support for Relaxed Performances, and a slideshow of fun facts and figures, such as how many ice cream tubs have been sold and the most unusual item of lost property (a carrot!). The volunteers also watched videos from Coliseum staff and visiting actors thanking them for all that they do for the theatre.
“This was our chance to show our Customer Experience Volunteers what a difference they’ve made, and continue to make, and to thank them for their efforts and the wider impact their contribution has. Everyone had a lot of fun and I think they all went home knowing how truly appreciated they are. Volunteers make a difference to individuals and communities every day. In the wider volunteer community across Oldham and Tameside there are 51,700 volunteers contributing to 153,000 hours per week. Without that army of volunteers the two boroughs would be a much poorer place to work and live and it’s important to recognise that on the wider scale.”
– Heather Shaw, House Manager
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: