Coliseum receives another £56,600 from Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

Date published: 02 April 2021

Oldham Coliseum Theatre has received a grant of £56,600 from the second round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

The award will support future productions, both online and on stage, investment in the theatre’s team and opportunities for freelance artists.

The Coliseum is among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country in the latest round of support announced today (Friday).

With a history stretching back over 135 years, Oldham Coliseum Theatre is one of the oldest professional producing theatres in the UK.

Its year-round programme of drama, music and comedy includes award-winning in-house productions, a nationally renowned annual pantomime and top comedians, including BGT finalist Steve Royle, performing in a more intimate setting.

Off-stage, the theatre works with people of all ages and backgrounds from across Oldham’s diverse communities, offering support, training and a safe space to explore their creativity.

In October 2020 the Coliseum was awarded £243,000 in round one of the Culture Recovery Fund to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and ensure it has a sustainable future.  

Over £800 million in grants and loans was awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations.

The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery.

After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead. 

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced. 

"Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors - helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead."

Susan Wildman, Chief Executive of Oldham Coliseum Theatre, said: “This time last year we could never have envisioned that the Coliseum building would be closed for over a year.

"We’re very proud of the work we have achieved throughout the pandemic; now that reopening is in sight, this further support from the Culture Recovery Fund is very helpful as we work towards welcoming our audiences back into the theatre.”

Chris Lawson, Artistic Director at the Coliseum, added: “Culture creates jobs, supports livelihoods and brings joy to everyone; it is paramount in supporting our mental and emotional health.

"The Coliseum is at the heart of Oldham’s community and is a key aspect of Greater Manchester’s cultural offering.

"This continued investment will help us to ensure that our theatre recovers from this extended closure and is here to support Oldham and Greater Manchester for generations to come.”

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed.

The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute. 

Despite closing its doors over a year ago due to the pandemic, the Coliseum has continued to reach out and engage with its audiences and participants; producing and sharing great art and opportunities to be creative online, and from a safe social distance.

This month the theatre welcomes audiences back into the building thorough their computers in an interactive online murder mystery, Whodunnit at the Coliseum?, set on the opening night of Macbeth in 1954, and offering an opportunity to explore the theatre’s spaces via a bespoke game board.

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