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April 2021 Newsletter

At the beginning of the year we launched our Micro Commissions offering support for artists to create work for audiences to experience online and, after a busy few months for our seven commissioned artists, throughout the coming weeks we’ll be releasing the pieces on our website and digital channels. The first of these commissions is Angel of History by Grant Archer, a short film in collaboration with ballerina Nicky Henshall, actress Shobna Gulati and composer Akshay Gulati, which you can watch below.


Elsewhere online, our murder mystery Whodunnit at the Coliseum? has now been running for a week and it’s a hit with audiences and critics alike, praised for its blend of tongue-in-cheek 1950s style and easy to navigate digital interactivity. As lockdown begins to ease theatres will still remain closed for some time more, Whodunnit offers you the opportunity to step back inside the Coliseum, virtually, for the first time in over a year. It runs until Sunday 25 April.  


If you need to get in touch with us you can contact our Box Office team on 0750 890 3924 every Monday between 10am-4pm, alternatively you can contact us by emailing

The cast of Whodunnit at the Coliseum?

It’s the talk of the town – can you guess Whodunnit at the Coliseum?

Presented by Oldham Coliseum Theatre and Front Room Productions

Friday 9 – Sunday 25 April 2021
Tickets: £12 / household £20


With ‘50s inspired musical numbers, unashamed murder mystery stereotypes and heaps of suspicious activity this tongue-in-cheek murder mystery is a joyful experience running online this April.

It’s 1954 and you’ve just arrived at the Coliseum for the opening night of Shakespeare’s Macbe…The Scottish Play. Moments before curtain up, Front of House Manager Edward Fitch is found… dead! Everyone is a suspect – and it’s up to you to figure out whodunnit.

Part theatre, part film and part video game, Whodunnit at the Coliseum? takes place online via a special website.


“It’s been my first visit to Oldham in over a year and, even if it was only virtually, it felt wonderful to wander around the Coliseum again.” Circles and Stalls

★★★★  “There is plenty to explore and it’s all amusingly done by a strong cast and production team.”  Theatre Reviews North

★★★  “Reworked versions of songs by Elvis and Johnny Cash, jauntily arranged by Claire-Marie Seddon, and dotting the script with subtle – and not so subtle – nods to Agatha Christie and her work adds to overall fun.” – The Stage




Whodunnit at the Coliseum? runs online until Sunday 25 April 2021. Tickets are valid for two days (the date you book and the following day). Click here to learn more and book tickets.



(Pictured: Whodunnit at the Coliseum? cast)

Angel of History

A film by Grant Archer based on the work of Walter Benjamin and Paul Klee. Supported by Oldham Coliseum Micro Commissions 2021

Available from Friday 16 April


In 1940 the philosopher Walter Benjamin described a Paul Klee painting, Angelus Novus, as showing an angel of history transfixed by a past he perceives as catastrophe but which is propelling him forward into the future.


This project from digital artist Grant Archer is a collaboration with ballerina Nicky Henshall, actress Shobna Gulati and composer Akshay Gulati, exploring what it has meant to be a performer during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 when all regular creative outputs had been restricted. The piece is intended to be a reflection on the struggles of the creative industry as well as on the impact the pandemic has had on the health and well-being of society as a whole.


Angel of History is the first release from our Micro Commissions 2021, it is available to watch online for free on the Coliseum’s website and YouTube channel.


Grant Archer is a digital artist creating theatrical installation work that explores the relationship between live and recorded media and storytelling. In 2015 he co-founded Take Back Theatre with actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and writer Rebekah Harrison, responding to social and political issues. Grant is also the Coliseum’s Digital Associate Artist and is developing further digital installation work.

His other recent works have included Connect – a series of phone conversations at HOME, Manchester; Patient – an audio/visual installation at Oldham Coliseum and Virtual Reality films at The Lowry, the Coliseum and various site-specific locations.


(Pictured: Angel of History promotional image)

Postcards of Positivity

Stamp is a creative opportunity for everyone to get involved in, inviting you to post postcards filled with pictures and poems of positivity. Postcards can be sent to a friend or family member you are currently separated from and/or returned to the Coliseum to share with Oldham’s communities.

Stamp is free for anyone to get involved in. You could create your own postcards from card or paper and download the poetry activity pack from our website, request a Postcards and Stamps Only Pack* if you have arts and crafts materials at home, or request the Full Stamp Pack* as below:

*Oldham residents only


  • Postcards: create your artwork on the front and write your poem on the back. You will get a few blank postcards in your pack, you can create as many as you like, either on your own or with other people in your household.
  • Paints, paintbrushes, coloured paper, patterned paper, coloured pencils: everything you need to make some bright, eye catching, amazing postcards. You can also use any other craft materials you have in your house.
  • Poetry activity pack: if you aren’t yet confident with your poetry skills fear not, we’ve put together an activity pack of poetry exercises designed by award-winning poet Nasima Begum. You can also download the activity pack from our website if you have requested the Postcards and Stamps only pack.
  • Teabag: stick the kettle on and make yourself a brew! The teabags are organic, vegan, caffeine free, gluten free. Please check the ingredients on the back of the packet for any specific dietary advice.
  • Feedback form: we would love to know what you think of this project. You can send the feedback form back to the coliseum in the pre-addressed and stamped plastic envelope.
  • Stamps: use these to send your postcards of positivity to a friend or family member. We’re sure it will make them smile.
  • Plastic envelope stamped and addressed to Oldham Coliseum: use this to send your postcards and feedback form back to the Coliseum so we can share your work with our communities. You can add as many postcards as you like, we can’t wait to see them.

You can also share your work and feedback with us via email at or on Twitter and Instagram using #ColiseumCreates @OldhamColiseum  


Request the pack you need by emailing

If you’re the leader of an Oldham based community group please get in touch to request group packs.

Due to budgetary restrictions we have a limited number of Full Stamp Packs available, and so we ask that if you have access to arts and craft materials at home you request the Stamps and Postcards Only Pack. You also could create your own postcards from card or paper and download the poetry activity pack from our website.

Learn more about Stamp and download your activity pack here.


(Pictured: Postcards on a washing line)

A free storywalk adventure for families – Hidden Winter

Stand and Be Counted (SBC) Theatre in association with Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Theatre in the Mill, Cast and Hull Truck Theatre, funded by Bradford Producing Hub and Arts Council England.

Available now


Whether you’re walking around your local park, or staying at home, Hidden Winter is a brand-new story walk adventure, perfect for families.

This interactive adventure follows eight-year-old Hiba, a mischievous cat, and a trail of winter clothes in a story celebrating the joys and difficulties of making friends in a new place.



Hidden Winter has been co-created with young asylum-seeker children and families in Bradford and is available for free in English and Arabic, with how to play instructions and an activity pack.

Experience for free at


(Pictured: Hidden Winter promotional image)

Independent Artists Initiative 

Supported by Arts and Culture organisations across Greater Manchester, GM Independent Artist Initiative offers a pot of resources including money, producer/curator support, gallery/rehearsal/performance space and more to support GM based independent artists and companies to develop and share work in 2021. The deadline for applications is Friday 23 April.

Independent artists and companies from all disciplines and at any level of experience can apply for these resources to support the development or showing of new work, made in Greater Manchester. Decisions will be made by a panel of independent artists and representatives of cultural organisations, with independent artists in the majority. There will be an emphasis on supporting diversity, artists not currently known to the organisations, and reach across the city region.


There is a free Q&A event for anyone who is thinking of applying but would like to know more on Friday 16 April at 11.45am on Zoom. Book your place here:


The initiative is, it is hoped, a step towards a new and better relationship between independent artists and cultural institutions in Greater Manchester. As such, the call-out also welcomes proposals from independent artists who would like to use the resources available to focus not on outputs, but on initiatives creating change and challenge within the sector — this could include forums, new forms of residency, or other processes.

There is also the possibility of supporting the sharing of work by independent artists and companies in Greater Manchester this Summer. A region-wide marketing campaign will highlight the work developed through the ‘pot of resources’ alongside other new independent work from GM artists. This marketing (and hopefully other) support will be available to anyone presenting new work in June – October 21, in any discipline, developed in Greater Manchester. 



GM Independent Artist Initiative is supported by a growing list of Greater Manchester organisations including:
Brighter Sound · Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art · City of Makers Action Group · Community Arts North West · Contact · 53two · GM Artist Hub · hÅb · HOME · Hope Mill Theatre · Manchester Art Gallery · Manchester Camerata · Manchester City of Literature · Manchester International Festival · Manchester Museum · Manchester Music City · Marketing Manchester · Matt & Phred’s · National Football Museum · Oldham Coliseum Theatre · Science + Industry Museum · ThickSkin · Visioning Lab · The Whitworth · Z-arts — alongside a range of other galleries, spaces & organisations, including independents.


(Pictured: view of the Coliseum stage from the Circle)

Have Your Passport Ready

Stand and Be Counted Theatre

Available now


Led by brothers Khaled and Mohammad Aljawad from Syria, now based in Sheffield, Have Your Passport Ready is a virtual experience that explores an unknown city without an interpreter as audiences become players collecting evidence to prove their right to remain in the UK.

Have Your Passport Ready was named ‘Game of the Week’ by The Observer.

★★★★ “A rare documentary piece… an altogether simpler format than Charlie Brooker’s benchmark Netflix extravaganza Bandersnatch, but often just as affecting.” – The Guardian

★★★★ “Important and engaging… loaded with gallows humour and crackling with barely suppressed anger.” – The Stage


This short film-meets-video game is made by Stand and Be Counted (SBC) Theatre, the UK’s first Theatre Company of Sanctuary. It was commissioned by Knaïve Theatre to launch the inaugural season of Knaïve Theatre presents: A Digital Lyceum.

Have Your Passport Ready is available to play for free online at


(Pictured: Have Your Passport Ready promotional image)


Oldham Coliseum Theatre gratefully acknowledges funding from:

Oldham Coliseum Theatre is a Registered Charity, No: 508829.
Oldham Coliseum Theatre Ltd Reg No: 1

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