Chorus cut from this year’s Coliseum pantomime, for safety reasons

Date published: 03 September 2021

Oldham Coliseum Theatre has made the difficult decision not to welcome a community chorus as part of this year’s pantomime, Aladdin.

The Coliseum’s much-loved annual family production usually features a chorus of talented local young people who perform on stage alongside the pantomime’s professional actors.

However, after considering the safety of all parties involved, and in a bid to prevent the young people not missing any more school than they already have due to the pandemic, this year the production will be supported by a much smaller chorus of dancers who are aged 18+.

Whilst many Covid-19 restrictions are no longer a legal obligation, at the Coliseum all staff and artists continue to observe social distancing and wear masks to help minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission and keep everyone who enters the theatre as safe as possible.

The theatre also asks its audiences to follow these guidelines, if they are able to, at all performances.

For the Coliseum’s last pantomime, 2019’s Jack and the Beanstalk, the production had a community chorus of 24 young people working in three teams, supervised by seven chaperones.

The 137-year-old Coliseum building on Fairbottom Street has limited backstage space, and so social distancing backstage this year with a full cast and chorus would be impossible, and the risks of transmission extremely high with 84 performances across the run. 

Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s annual pantomime is a highlight in the festive calendars for over 35,000 people across Oldham and Greater Manchester.

The much-loved production mixes well-known traditions with brand new songs, pop culture references and themes to produce a pantomime that is simultaneously warmingly familiar and excitingly different year on year.

Having been closed for 16 months - and having missed 2020’s pantomime due to the pandemic - it would be a huge blow to the theatre, and to the town, if performances of Aladdin were to be cancelled because a member of the production became ill.

The theatre will be holding auditions for a small number of dancers aged 18+ to support the production’s actors this year.

The Coliseum looks forward to resuming a full chorus at 2022’s pantomime.  

Aladdin runs from Saturday, November 13, 2021 to Saturday, January 8, 2022.

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