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Oldham Coliseum Saved!

The historic theatre will reopen thanks to a successful campaign.

Oldham Coliseum has been saved thanks to the success of the ‘Save Oldham Coliseum’ campaign. 

Oldham Coliseum, the historic theatre which opened in 1885 was the geographical and cultural heart of Oldham for nearly 140 years. 

The Coliseum had closed in March 2023, a decision which Equity called a damning indictment of the Arts Council’s decision to cut its funding. 

Equity's campaign to save the Coliseum included public meetings, a letter writing campaign, and lobbying efforts. After the announcement that the Coliseum would have to close, the union held a rally at the theatre in February, packing it out with a 400-strong crowd calling on decision-makers to save the Coliseum. 

Commenting, Equity General Secretary Paul W Fleming said: “Equity is incredibly proud to be part of the coalition which has saved the Oldham Coliseum. We’re proud to have played our part with rallies, campaigning, and lobbying, but today’s victory lies with that community coalition. 

“What is so inspiring is that they have put the workforce at the heart of this campaign – audiences want professionally produced work, at scale, in their communities to tell their stories. Again, Arts Council England have huge questions to answer, but they should take this chance to step up and rethink their funding approach.  

“The Coliseum’s story of re-establishment and re-invention has just begun, ACE can make this sorry chapter the last one in a tale of precarity and woe for subsidised theatre for the last 20 years.” 

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