Oldham’s Liberal Democrat Leader councillor Howard Sykes MBE has called on Oldham’s senior leadership to step up efforts to support the Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
In November, the long-established Fairbottom Street theatre announced that it had not been successful in its bid to secure Arts Council funding; and that jobs and the future of the theatre were at stake.
Councillor Sykes has written an open letter to The Leader of Oldham Council – Amanda Chadderton, and Oldham Council Chief Executive Harry Catherall – calling on the Council to offer more support.
Councillor Sykes said, “The Oldham Coliseum is one of Oldham’s most treasured institutions. It has a first-rate reputation across Oldham Borough and far beyond. I’ve called on Oldham Council to show leadership in lobbying the Arts Council and the government on the Coliseum’s behalf as well working with the Theatre to explore new avenues for funding. We must do everything to make sure the Coliseum secures its future.”
The Oldham Coliseum, which boasts over 135 years of history, is one of only a handful of producing theatres in the Northwest and its annual pantomime – which is currently showing – enjoys national acclaim. The theatre is reliant on ‘Investment Programme’ funding from Arts Council England, which has not been continued as part of the Arts Council’s latest funding round.
Councillor Sykes said, “It is important that the Arts Council hear the dismay that their decision has caused across Oldham from every corner of the community; and this should include our civic leadership. But we must also think creatively and explore all options to make sure the Theatre can continue its programme well into the future. This could include crowdfunding, which is something Oldham Council could offer practical communications support with.”