The current Oldham Coliseum Theatre was built in 1887; however this building is now close to reaching the the end of its natural life.
The c£2 million investment to refurbish the Fairbottom Street building in 2012 was imperative to make the building safe and more comfortable for audiences. The central heating system was at the end of its lifespan, the interior was becoming tatty, and the building was riddled with asbestos. This refurbishment extended the building’s lifespan by 10 years. Without refurbishment, the alternative would have been to close the building down entirely in 2012 until a new site was found – this would have left Oldham without a professional theatre and live entertainment venue.
The constraints of the Fairbottom Street site limit the potential for the Coliseum to grow and develop its business as well as its charitable aims, particularly work with its local community including older people, children and young people. The relocation of the Coliseum is vital for the theatre to be able to realise its full potential and provide full benefits for the people of Oldham, Greater Manchester, and the wider North. The advantages of new building and its site far outweigh the ageing facilities of the current site.
By 2020 when the theatre moves into the Union Street site, the Fairbottom Street building will have two years left of its extended lifespan. Oldham Council own the building and the Yorkshire Street area is currently undergoing ongoing regeneration and repositioning as the town’s Independent Quarter. Oldham Council is actively considering the regeneration proposals for this important area of the town.