Rehearsals begin for Oldham Coliseum’s Robin Hood

Oldham Coliseum Theatre is starting rehearsals for their award-winning and nationally renowned annual pantomime; this year it’s Robin Hood. With the perfect blend of slapstick, silliness, hit songs and panto magic, join everyone’s favourite real-life hero on the arrow shooting pantomime adventure of a lifetime.


Welcome to Sherwood Forest by way of Oldham where the nasty Sheriff is terrorising everyone with expensive taxes, and she’s kidnapped Maid Marian! By robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, and with some very skilled archery, can Robin save the day?


The Coliseum’s traditional pantomime has been delighting audiences for generations, mixing all the best panto traditions with pop culture to bring each unique production bang up to date. This long-established and much-loved festive spectacular is enjoyed by over 35,000 people each year and puts the extra sparkle into the festive season for audiences from across Oldham, Greater Manchester and the North West.


UK Pantomime Association Award nominee (Best Principal Boy, Aladdin 2021) Shorelle Hepkin returns, this time playing the titular role of Robin Hood. Shorelle joined the Coliseum’s pantomime company in 2017’s Dick Whittington as Principal Girl, her role evolving each year, including a star-turn as Cinderella in 2018, our heroine Jill in 2019’s Jack and the Beanstalk, a return of Cinders in a one-woman storytelling adaptation touring schools in 2020 and her award nominated role as Aladdin in 2021.


Liz Carney is back to her wicked ways as The Sheriff. Liz previously played the evil Aunty Banazar in 2021’s Aladdin and Carabosse in 2016’s Sleeping Beauty, taking a walk on the good side 2017 to play Fairy Nell in Dick Whittington. Her non-pantomime Coliseum credits include Our Gracie, Blithe Spirit and Satin ‘n’ Steel.  


Stepping into the Pantomime Dame wardrobe is Charlie Ryan as Nurse Nellie. Charlie was last seen on the Coliseum stage in a triumphant performance in 2022’s Beryl, in which he played a multitude of characters. He is no stranger to pantomime traditions, having previously performed in Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and Maid Marian and the Merry Men in Worcester.


Fresh from the Coliseum’s September 2022 production of Road, William Travis returns with a very different role as Friar Tuck. Perhaps most widely known for his role in This is England (Channel 4), William has also previously appeared in the Coliseum’s productions of The Kitchen Sink and Hard Times, HOME’s production of Ghost, Fallen Angels at Salisbury Playhouse and Wonderland at Nottingham Playhouse.


No stranger to Oldham, Sophie Ellicott joins the company playing Ellen A Dale. Sophie’s previous credits include Happy Birthday Peter Rabbit with Old Laundry Theatre, Aladdin and Cinderella at Cast, Doncaster, and Candyfloss at HOME, Manchester as part of PUSH Festival. Sophie also appeared in Cracker as part of the Coliseum’s digital Advent Plays series. Off-stage, Sophie can often be found at Oldham Theatre Workshop where she is a Relationship Manager and Workshop Leader.  


Making their Coliseum debuts in 2022 are Nathan Morris as Failsworth, Ian Crowe as Sir Guy of Gisbourne and Sarah Pearson as Maid Marian.


Nathan Morris is best known for his former role as Milo in Hollyoaks (Channel 4). His theatre credits include The Day The World Came to Huddersfield at Lawrence Batley Theatre, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin and Once Upon a Pantomime for AB Productions, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt at Octagon Theatre Bolton, The Wind in the Willows for Stolen Thread Productions and ‘Allo ‘Allo at Belfast Grand Opera House. 


Ian Crowe’s previous pantomime experience has seen him play the villain Abanazar in Aladdin at Cast, Doncaster, the Dame in Chipping Norton and a Norwegian Abanazar at The Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. His other credits include Educating Rita at Esk Valley Theatre and Treasure Island at Birmingham Old Rep.


Sarah Pearson is a recent graduate of the Arden School of Theatre. She recently made her professional debut in the song cycle Climb Way Up at Hope Mill Theatre.


Young people from Oldham will once again perform alongside the theatre’s professional actors, with three pairs of young actors playing the Babes in the Wood and the return of the pantomime’s chorus of young dancers.


Last year’s pantomime Aladdin won the UK Pantomime Association Award for Best Costume Design, with Designer Celia Perkins also up for Best Set Design and Shorelle Hepkin nominated for Best Principal Boy. The Coliseum last presented a pantomime of Robin Hood in 2004, then starring national pantomime legend Eric Potts as the Dame.


Robin Hood runs from Saturday 12 November 2022 – Saturday 7 January 2023.

This year’s pantomime is sponsored by George Hill Timber and Building Supplies, N Brown Group, Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers and Tax Strategies Ltd. Robin Hood’s Educational partner is Oldham Hulme Grammar School.


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