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March 2017 Newsletter

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

Stand up if you love Oldham!

Meat Pie, Sausage Roll at Oldham Coliseum Theatre.

Our new musical Meat Pie, Sausage Roll has audiences singing and chanting along night after night as we relive Oldham Athletic’s glory days fighting for promotion in 1991.

Meat Pie, Sausage Roll isn’t just about football though – it centres around the love story of Mandi Taylor and Asif Rana. Mandi’s family are devoted Latics fans, while Asif and his family have no interest in football whatsoever. In midfield is Mandi, who grew up with Latics as a big part of her life, but she’s moved on and has a bright new career in London.

Inventive, comical and full of heart”
– The Reviews Hub

 Meat Pie, Sausage Roll doesn’t miss a trick when it comes to getting its audience on its side or on its feet.”
Northern Soul

 A trip down Sheepfoot Lane that all Latics supporters should see… there is probably no theatre in the land that stages this sort of production better than the Coliseum.”
Audience member (via Facebook)

Over 5,000 Oldhamers, football fans and musical lovers have come to the Coliseum to see Meat Pie, Sausage Roll so far, with regular standing ovations at the end of performances, and there’s still another week left of the run. 

Meat Pie, Sausage Roll ends next Saturday, 25 March. To book tickets click here,  phone 0161 624 2829 or call in at Box Office.



Behind the scenes: Preparing for Spring and Port Wine 

Spring and Port Wine at Oldham Coliseum Theatre

We’re staying local in April with Bill Naughton’s Spring and Port Wine, which is set in a family home just a few miles away in Bolton in the late 1960s.

Spring and Port Wine follows in the tradition of the great Lancashire Comedies such as Hindle Wakes and Hobson’s Choice. It’s a slice-of-life comedy about a family at war, where four grown-up children are rebelling against their strict, old fashioned father, while their mother desperately tries to keep the peace. Throw in a nosy neighbour and a future son-in-law caught in the middle and it’s a herring, and not a straw, that breaks the camel’s back.

Rehearsals for Spring and Port Wine start next week and we’re pleased to welcome back former Artistic Director of Manchester’s Library Theatre Company, Chris Honer, to direct it. Chris’s last work at the Coliseum was Pygmalion in 2016; and eagle-eyed audience members may well recognise a member of the Pygmalion cast now appearing on Coronation Street. Rob Mallard, who played Freddy Eynsford-Hill, took up the role of Ken Barlow’s son Daniel just a few months after his final bow on the Coliseum stage.

Pygmalion was a triumph despite a crisis on opening night, when original cast member, John Branwell, fell ill and was unable to perform. The hero of the hour was James Quinn, who stepped into the role of Alfred Doolittle at the last minute and performed the role for the whole run. James returns to our stage for Spring and Port Wine as Rafe Crompton, the tyrannical father.  You can see the full cast for Spring and Port Wine on our website – we’re especially excited about the Coliseum debut of Freddy the professional performing cat!

Spring and Port Wine opens on Thursday 13 April.



New: Dementia Friendly performances

Dementia Friendly Performances

Oldham Coliseum Theatre will hold its first ever Dementia Friendly performance with Spring and Port Wine on Thursday 27 April at 2.30pm.

We know that many people with dementia have spent a lifetime going to theatre and concerts, however, a diagnosis of dementia can reduce an individual’s confidence, meaning they become more isolated from the things they enjoy. Dementia Friendly performances are specially adapted to remove potential barriers that people with dementia may experience when attending the theatre. We hope this performance will help people with dementia, and their friends and families, to attend life-enhancing shows.

We’ve specially picked Spring and Port Wine to be our debut Dementia Friendly performance, with its familiar setting and relatable story of a family in Bolton in the late 1960s. People attending the Dementia Friendly performance will benefit from specially trained staff and volunteers, clear signage, a relay screen in the Stalls Bar so that they can watch the performance from another area if they prefer, space to move around in the auditorium and a special information pack on the production and the theatre delivered in advance.

Learn more about the Dementia Friendly performance and how to book tickets here.

Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Dementia Friendly events are programmed in partnership with the A Life More Ordinary project at The Dukes, Lancaster, a three-year project which aims to improve the lives of people with dementia and memory loss, and their friends and families, by providing fun, creative activities and film screenings in an adapted environment.

All Coliseum performances have one BSL (British Sign Language) interpreted performance and one Audio Described performance. We also have Captioned performances for Meat Pie, Sausage Roll and Spring and Port Wine. For full information on access performances and dates click here.



Studio Theatre: Women take centre stage

Not Yet Suffragette at Oldham Coliseum Theatre Studio

International Women’s Day may have been last week but we’re continuing to celebrate and explore women’s experiences this week in the Coliseum’s Studio Theatre with Rhiannon Faith’s Scary Sh*t and EntreprenHER’s Not Yet Suffragette.

Scary Sh*t is based on real-life experiences of fears, phobias and female friendships. Rhiannon Faith and Maddy Morgan decided to undertake cognitive behavioural therapy to alleviate their personal phobias of telephone conversations, fertility problems, career verses motherhood issues and smear tests. Using a combination of theatre and dance, they divulge their experiences in a show with attitude, a big heart, and an occasional smutty mouth. Scary Sh*t is on Friday 17 March and you can book tickets online here.

Not Yet Suffragette is a one-woman show that explores how far, or not, women’s rights have come since winning the vote in 1918 (or 1928, depending on how old they were). It opens on the Front Lines of WWI with Flora Sands, the only woman to have officially served as a soldier in the First World War, and moves through the decades documenting women’s struggles as they juggle the stereotypes imposed upon them by society.

Learn more about EntreprenHER and Not Yet Suffragette in this interview via Sincerely Amy.

Natalie Cutler, the woman behind EntreprenHER worked with Coliseum Associate Director, Chris Lawson, to shape Not Yet Suffragette following fantastic reviews at the Brighton Fringe. It comes to the Coliseum Studio Theatre on Saturday 18 March and tickets are available online here.

Next up in the Oldham Coliseum Theatre Studio is Rob Ward’s Gypsy Queen on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 April.



Learning and Engagement: Reasons to be Cheerful

Secondary Education Partnership Scheme outcome performance

Every year as part of the Coliseum’s Education Partnership Scheme, schools from our local area collaborate to produce a series of performances based on themes from a Main Stage production. This year, we’ve worked with 13 school groups from Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside to create Reasons to be Cheerful, which responds to themes from Meat Pie, Sausage Roll, exploring fandom, friendship, family and loyalty.

The Education Partnership Scheme provides opportunities for schools to develop long term, meaningful links with the theatre, where, throughout the year, students take part in workshops and theatre visits.

This is our tenth year working in partnership with Oldham Coliseum Theatre. It is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about the theatre, as well as contributing to the Oldham community through the arts. I am continually grateful to the Learning and Engagement team as I learn new skills alongside my students.”
Stephanie Eckhardt, Director of Standards and Support for Year 9 and Head of Drama, Waterhead Academy, Oldham

Reasons to be Cheerful was written by award-winning playwright Rob Johnston, who has written more than 20 plays for the stage, including Einstein’s Daughter (winner of the 2011 King’s Cross Award for New Writing) and Under My Skin (short-listed for the 2012 Channel 4 Comedy-Drama Award). It is his sixth play for the Coliseum’s Learning and Engagement Department, following Tunnel Vision, Apps!, GOOSE, The Dark Night and When I Grow Too Old To Dream.

Reasons to be Cheerful performances began on Monday 6 and Monday 13 March, with the final performance taking place on Monday 20 March.

The Coliseum’s Education Partnership Scheme is delivered in partnership with Tameside Cultural Services and is supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, John Thaw Foundation and Key 103 Cash for Kids.



Partner’s Event: New Charter Homes and Aksa Homes

Yasmeen Khalaf in Meat Pie, Sausage Roll at Oldham Coliseum Theatre

Last night tenants from New Charter Homes and Aksa Homes enjoyed a special partnership evening at the theatre where they were treated to a pie supper from Bradley’s Bakery before watching our new Oldham-based musical, Meat Pie, Sausage Roll.

The Coliseum works with a wide variety of partners and sponsors and prides itself on delivering impactful, bespoke packages to suit the needs of each company or organisation. Their generous support goes a long way to helping the Coliseum as a charity to deliver its work on the stage and in our local communities.

“Our partners want to support the Coliseum because having a producing theatre in the town is a massive boost, both socially and economically. The sponsorships are mutually beneficial; it’s about recognising the good in Oldham and celebrating it.”
John Edwards, Development Manager, Oldham Coliseum Theatre

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



Spotlight on: Learning and Engagement Officer: Education – Sarah Eastaff

Oldham Coliseum Theatre Learning and Engagement Officer Sarah Eastaff

Introducing Sarah Eastaff, Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Learning and Engagement Officer: Education, and a keen hula hooper.

How long have you worked at the Coliseum?

I started not long ago – I’ve been here for five months; I really like it here, it’s a great combination of being inside the theatre and being out and about in schools.

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

I haven’t been here long – the panto is fab and I really enjoyed Jumpers For Goalposts. It was lovely being in such a diverse audience and I left feeling really happy, like the world was a good place.

What is your favourite aspect of working at the Coliseum?

Being able to meet so many different people and see their long term relationships with the theatre. Some of the young people I work with have been coming to the Coliseum since they were four and it’s great to see them at the Children’s Shakespeare Festival and then being on stage, doing work they’ve devised themselves.

What are you currently working on?

Well, I’m working on the Secondary Partnership Scheme which involves rehearsals with children in secondary schools and I’m also doing some directing. I’ve just directed a piece called The Components of People with MAHDLO and Theatre Lab and a piece called Monsters Make Good Friends Too which was written by, Millie Mciver, one of our young writers. Millie was mentored by Ian Kershaw, who wrote the Coliseum’s productions of The Mist in the Mirror in 2015 and Star-Cross’d in 2012.

What are you currently looking forward to?

Hard Times – I share an office with Chris Lawson, who is directing it, and the set design looks fantastic. I also really like Dickens.

Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

I hula hoop a lot, I’m up to six at a time, I wonder how I can incorporate that into my job…



Customer Experience Volunteers: Volunteers’ Week

Volunteers' Week

The Coliseum’s Front of House team are starting to make plans for Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1 – 7 June. Volunteers’ Week is a nationwide annual celebration of the fantastic contribution that volunteers make.

In 2016 the Coliseum received a Customer Service Excellence Badge from TripAdvisor drawn from reviews posted by our audiences.  The Coliseum’s team of 30+ Customer Experience Volunteers play an integral part in ensuring everyone who comes into the theatre receives a warm and friendly welcome and first-rate service throughout their visit. Their contribution to the theatre includes greeting people in the foyer, showing people to their seats, selling refreshments, ice creams and programmes, checking tickets and answering queries.

For Volunteers’ Week 2017 our Customer Experience Volunteers will be linking up with volunteers from Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre for several events across the week.

Volunteers’ Week is run by NCVO in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

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


Oldham Coliseum Theatre gratefully acknowledges funding from:

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