Coliseum chiefs' plea for donations

Date published: 17 March 2020

Oldham Coliseum Theatre chiefs have pleaded for donations as the iconic Fairbottom Street venue faces an uncertain immediate future.

Last night, in Boris Johnson’s opening daily press conference aimed at addressing the Coronavirus outbreak, the UK Prime Minister urged people to avoid ‘non-essential contact’ with others and pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.

Given such advice, the Coliseum hierarchy clearly felt closing the doors immediately was the safest option.

Last night, a theatre statement read: “Following official government advice issued on Monday 16 March, which stipulates that people should avoid public buildings including theatres, we’re really sorry to announce that, in line with other UK Theatre venues, the Coliseum will be closed from tonight, to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

“We have cancelled The Last Quiz Night on Earth at the Bank Top Tavern with sincere apologies for the short notice.

“We understand how disappointed our audiences will be, but we have taken this decision with the health and safety of our community and colleagues at the forefront.

“We will work with UK Theatre and colleagues in the industry to do the best for our audiences going forward.

“We will be contacting tickets holders over the coming days; please bear with us while we do this as we will be exceptionally busy.

“Like the Coliseum, many theatres that have been forced to cancel performances are charities, and while ticketholders are all entitled to a refund for cancelled performances, we would ask that, if you can, please make a donation to the theatre to enable us to continue to make great theatre in Oldham, as soon as we’re able.

“We will do our best to keep you updated.”

The Oldham Coliseum theatre dates back to 1885 when it began life as the Grand American Circus and Hippodrome.  

The theatre was situated in the heart of Oldham’s town centre at the height of the cotton industry.  

This made Oldham famous all over the world – it boasted the largest number of cotton spindles in the world and was producing eight billion yards of cloth a year at the industry’s peak in 1912.  

The theatre – known then as the Colosseum – was surrounded by almost a dozen other theatres entertaining the town’s booming population. 

 In the 21st century, the award-winning Coliseum is now the only surviving professional producing theatre in the town.

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