New Board appointed to Oldham Coliseum Theatre Ltd

23 March 2023


  • Announcement follows confirmation that the Coliseum’s building will close this month
  • The new Board will oversee the building’s closure and aim to preserve its legacy
  • The Board are starting discussions with Oldham Council to safeguard the future of culture in Oldham


Oldham Coliseum Theatre Ltd has appointed a new Board of Trustees to oversee the closure of its building, preserve its legacy, determine the future of the company and safeguard the delivery of culture in Oldham.


Arts Council England (ACE) announced in November 2022 that Oldham Coliseum Theatre would no longer be part of ACE’s National Portfolio from 1 April 2023. This loss of funding led to confirmation last week (16 March 2023) that the building will close on 31 March 2023. The closure is being supported by ACE Transition Programme funding for organisations leaving the National Portfolio, which will honour contracts with affected artists and support staff redundancies.


Following discussions with and feedback from ACE and Oldham Council, the previous trustees have stepped away from the organisation with immediate effect. They have been replaced by a new six-member Board, who will oversee the closure and decide on the future of the organisation.


Following introductions from Chris Lawson, Artistic Director and CEO of Oldham Coliseum, the new Board have already opened discussions with ACE and Oldham Council on the future of culture in Oldham, including any role that a reshaped Oldham Coliseum organisation may play in it.


The new Board of Oldham Coliseum Theatre Ltd has a wide and complementary range of skills and experience from across the corporate finance, marketing, communications, performing arts and charitable sectors. They are:

  • Duncan Craig OBE (Chair), Founder & Chief Executive Officer of the charity Survivors Manchester, former trustee of SICK! Festival and former Chair of Manchester Craft & Design Centre
  • Simon Chaplin, Operations Director of Stoller Hall, Chetham’s School of Music and Chetham’s Library in Manchester
  • Jon Gilchrist, Joint President of UK Theatre, Artistic Director & CEO of Birmingham Hippodrome and previously Executive Director of HOME in Manchester
  • Janina Mundy, a freelance arts marketing consultant, previously Marketing Director of Manchester International Festival/Factory International and Director of Sales & Marketing at Birmingham Royal Ballet
  • Hannah Taylor, a professional charity fundraiser at The Christie, formerly of Chester Zoo and Salford CVS (Community & Voluntary Service)
  • Helen Williamson, a chartered accountant working in the charity and education sectors


Duncan Craig OBE, new Chair of Oldham Coliseum Theatre Ltd, says: 

“My fellow Board members and I hold the responsibility to ensure the legacy of the important and much-loved work that the Coliseum has brought to the people of Oldham and the UK theatre scene does not end when the doors shut. We will do everything we can to ensure Oldham Coliseum Theatre Ltd remains part of the discussions with Oldham Council about the cultural offer in Oldham, and I look forward to engaging in productive discussions with Oldham Council and with Arts Council England in the coming weeks.

The new Board want to acknowledge the incredibly difficult process that the staff are going through and thank them all for taking care of each other. The average length of service for a member of Coliseum staff is 9 years, which shows such dedication to creating great theatre for and in Oldham. We also want to say a huge thank you to our audiences and our friends within the arts for the love and affection you have shown over the last few difficult months.”



Cllr Amanda Chadderton, Leader of Oldham Council, commented:

“It has been a difficult few weeks for Oldham Coliseum as they announced their intention to close the theatre’s doors at the end of this month and we share the sadness and disappointment of both Coliseum staff and local people at the news of the closure.

The appointment of a new board is a positive step forward and provides an opportunity for the Coliseum to forge a new future for itself. We are still hopeful that the Coliseum can continue to produce theatre in Oldham and have a major role in our new town centre theatre and conversations between the council and the new board will focus on how we can achieve that.

I have already met with Duncan and I was heartened by his commitment and drive to take the Coliseum forward in a way that benefit the town and protects our cultural heritage. I hope to meet the other board members soon to welcome them as they take on their vital new roles.”


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