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Coliseum’s new home comes a big step closer

Reporter: HELEN KORN
Date online: 22 January 2013

OLDHAM Coliseum is set to win a massive £9 million towards a grand new home.

With Oldham Council, the theatre has been given an initial £465,000 by Arts Council England to develop detailed architectural plans over the next 18 months — which will allow it to make a second-stage application for another £4.4million towards the project.

In November the Chronicle announced the theatre’s new venue would be based alongside a new Oldham Heritage Centre, which has already received £615,000 towards a total of £3.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The new development — next to the old library and alongside the new town centre Metrolink line on Union Street, would also house Oldham Theatre Workshop and anglo-asian company, Peshkar.

Coliseum executive director David Martin says he is confident the plans for a 600-seater theatre can be completed in time.

He said: “This is our chance to get some detailed drawings together, as well as a business plan that shows this new entity is not a lame dog and we mean business.

“We will be working through all the figures with a fine-tooth comb. We don’t want to be in a situation where we have a new building we can’t afford to run. We wouldn’t be allowed to do that with public money. It will be a lot of hard work but we can, and will, do it.”

Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon said: “The theatre is hugely important to our community — a major cultural asset which also delivers hugely important educational work right across our borough.

“We must invest in our existing assets and a flourishing Coliseum is an essential part of our wider regeneration vision for our town centre.”

Building works will still be a decade away — which is why the recent £1.5 refurbishment of the current Fairbottom Street venue went ahead. Not to have spent the money would have meant closure of the theatre and likely loss of the major local asset

The refurbishment couldn’t enlarge the building to allow efficient use for the large amount of work the Coliseum company now undertakes.

Chief executive Kevin Shaw said refurbishment was essential regardless of whether they would eventually move out: “In the last 10 years there have been two other very serious bids to move the Coliseum to new locations, neither of which has come to fruition. We had to make a decision about Fairbottom Street to secure the company’s future,” he said.

Oldham Coliseum attracts about 100,000 visitors a year and its audiences bring the town around £17.5 million in overall spending.

Comments

TEN YEARS??

I would love to know where the overall spending figure of £17.5m is derived from.

The vast majority of Coliseum visitors leave the town straight after the show.

If tickets were an average £15 each that would total £1.5n, so where on earth does the rest come from?

McMahon says " We must invest in our existing assets and a flourishing Coliseum is an essential part of our wider regeneration vision for our town centre".......If thats the case why hasn't he invested in Tommyfield Market which used to be the main focal point in Oldham,instead of letting it decline year on year and into the joke of a market that it is now.
Plenty empty promises as usual!.....By the way it's gone very quiet on his vision for the Old Town Hall
Cinema/Restaurant complex..any news?

Love to see where you get your figures from? 100,000 visitors all spend an average of £175 do they absolute nonsense. Nearly half a million pounds just for design plans does anyone in authority in Oldham have any comprehension of the economic situation in England or of the towns demographic?

“We must invest in our existing assets.
pity they did,nt class the market as an asset.

This project together with the new cinema project will help to breath new life into two neglected listed buildings and will help to bring people into Oldham rather than surrounding towns and cities.

I do echo other people's views about Tommyfield Market. A really good market also brings people into a town especially when retail shops are closing.

quite apart from the fact that the figures of 'what visitors are likely to spend' are greatly over exaggerated - I would like to know why, if a new theatre was on the cards, has all the refurbishment to the existing theatre being carried out at such great expense? I cannot, for the life of me, see where the justification is in spending so much of our money on a theatre that is attended by such a small minority -especially when a small fortune has been spent on the old building????

DO THEY EVER THINK OF THE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE THEIR OWN TRANSPORT WHO FANCIES A COLD DARK WALK FROM UNION ST TO THE BUS STATION IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER ,I LOVE GOING TO THE COLISEUM, WHERE ARE THE CARS GOING TO PARK AT LEAST WHERE THEY ARE THERE IS A CAR PARK NEARBY ARE THEY MOVING THE BUS STATION ONTO UNION ST MIGHT AS WELL THEN PEOPLE WILL USE THE REP AND THE LIBRARY, THATS IF FIRST ARE STILL RUNNING BUSES AT NIGHT BY THEN.

Typical negativity: walking backwards into the future. The Tommyfield had "gone", for whatever reasons, long before McMahon had stewardship of the town's affairs. This is positive news, Typical of a young man who wants our town to have a future. Let's hope the bids are landed. I'll share frustration about the time scale though.

100,000 visitors a year at a cost of £9 million. Tommyfield Market would attract 100,000 people in a MONTH. Spending the money on minority is in my opinion not the way to go.

the only thing that is good about this is the possibility of finally giving oldham theatre workshop a proper home at last.

finally after the council of the time in the late 90's kicked them out and made them homeless to make way for a carpark (what ombc does best).

i was a member of OTW at the time and rememeber it well.

the council always likes the press coverage of any actors and actresses that came from there. but hide the shame of what hey did destroying such a successful establishment!

Margaret, by the time that the new theatre is up and running there will be a state of the art transport terminal at Mumps serving buses, taxis and cars; and Metrolink is already available.
Let's hear more from people who support our town and want to see it move forward. These negative moaners must be in the minority.

It would be interesting to see where the audience comes from, local or out of town rumour has it they all read the Daily Mail, enough said!

Moaners and negativity more accurately realists who have heard it all before. Get real people this is Oldham it is neither cosmopolitan nor economically benefited by a £9 million new fringe theatre in a decades time. I suggest Alice walks two or three miles to a tram stop in winter if the metrolink is such an eye catching state of the art transport mechanism. The best thing OMBC have done is invest in schools to try & change Oldham's culture but its at the expense of business & creating new jobs

Hang on, have they not just spent a fortune doing the old place up.

there already are large audiences that come to watch productions at the coliseum. but i suggest the council take a look at where these coaches that bring these people come from.

much further afield than manchester itself.

you see them parked up the side street.

but like i've said before about this and other developments.
where will the majority of visitors be able to park? only a few will come by tram or bus.

the majority will come by car or coach.

coaches need somewhere to park up.

The financial 'benefits' to the town are obviously overstated - probably to win the funding necessary to allow the redevelopment to go forward. I wish it well, but the involvement of OMBC does not bode well. They will talk everything up, as usual, whilst we all know OMBC has a poor track record for delivery.

 

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