Coliseum Theatre building couldn't have been saved, despite report suggesting it could reopen, council says
19.09.2023 - 11:19
Oldham’s council leader says the Coliseum theatre building couldn’t have been saved despite a new report suggesting it could reopen.
The Fairbottom Street venue closed at the end of March after the theatre was dropped from the Arts Council England funding portfolio despite a passionate campaign by actors, the union Equity and residents to keep it operational.
Oldham council says that it had reached an agreement with the theatre ‘more than ten years ago’ that the building was ‘not fit for purpose’.
The Coliseum theatre company has been chosen as the ‘anchor’ tenant for a £26m new theatre in the town in the former Post Office and Quaker meeting house on Union Street.
But the new venue in the emerging ‘cultural quarter’ of the town won’t be completed until 2026, leaving the Coliseum without a physical home until it opens.
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It is the third such masterplan for a new Coliseum for the town, after the last major scheme – a £27m new theatre – was scrapped in 2018 by the council.
A report commissioned by the new board of the Oldham Coliseum Theatre Ltd had examined the physical condition of the Fairbottom Street building – which is owned by Oldham council and had been leased to the Coliseum.
The theatre had been deemed ‘beyond its expected lifespan’ and a survey carried out in January uncovered ‘numerous’ urgent health and safety works, the local authority previously confirmed.
The latest report, published by Plann – a specialist theatre consultancy company – said that the Fairbottom Street building could be reopened for a ‘limited period’ if only the most
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