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Oldham Archives and the Coliseum

Oldham Coliseum Theatre archive

Oldham Coliseum Theatre has a rich archive reflecting its 135+ years of history in the town.  The large and interesting collection is mainly made up of programmes, posters and photographs relating to Coliseum productions over the years is held at Oldham Archives.

In 2011 the Coliseum received a Young Roots grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to work with young people and its archive.  Through this project, young people engaged with the history of the theatre and its archives.  They produced a live performance piece in response to the archives and the stories they discovered in their research.   The grant also provided resource for the preservation of the collection which was transferred to Oldham Local Studies and Archives.  The collection was then catalogued over a nine month period and is now available to researchers at their searchroom at 84 Union Street, Oldham, OL1 1DN. Their website has information on their collections, their location and opening times:


An online catalogue lists all the material currently held in the Coliseum’s Archive:

The Coliseum Archive (Ref: COL) is arranged into three distinct sections which represent its changing structure during its history: 

COL/1: Colosseum Theatre, 1885-1932
In this section we hold the least material, only 15 items, of which only three are not photocopies.

COL/2: Oldham Repertory Theatre Club, 1938-1978
For the Rep we hold a wide variety of material including programmes for productions.  We hold a good run of programmes from roughly 1944 but have very few for the years 1938-1943.

COL/3: Oldham Coliseum Theatre, 1978-Present
For the Oldham Coliseum Theatre as with the Rep we hold a good variety of material and have an almost unbroken selection of programmes relating to the shows.


Future collecting:

Oldham Coliseum Theatre and Oldham Local Studies and Archives work in partnership to ensure that the Coliseum’s collection remains relevant with periodic transfers of material relating to all its productions.

If you have any archives you’d like to offer for addition to the collection please note that a fairly comprehensive run of programmes are already held in the archive and it does not accept duplicates.  In the first instance, we suggest you contact Oldham Local Studies and Archives directly with any offers of material, they’ll be able to advise you if your material is suitable for addition to the collection.  Please do not send any archives without having consulted the Archive first – thank you.

Oldham Local Studies and Archives
Telephone: 0161 770 4654

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