Oldham Council announced that the famous Oldham Coliseum Theatre will re-open its doors

At a celebration event in front of the historic Fairbottom Street theatre, Oldham Council Leader Cllr Arooj Shah announced the Oldham Coliseum will re-open.

Cllr Arooj Shah said: “Oldham Council has listened to local people. I can now reveal that we will bring the Coliseum back to life in time for the Christmas Panto 2025.

“We are formally committing £10 million for this major programme that will see our famous venue open its doors to the public once more. We are working together for the future of theatre in this town. It’s a big part of our plans – putting culture at the centre of transforming our town centre and creating a better Oldham for everyone.”

Cllr Shah was joined at the event last night (Monday, 8 July) by actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and writer Ian Kershaw – who spearheaded the Save Oldham Coliseum campaign alongside a group of dedicated theatre lovers from the Oldham community. In total, over 100 people, including local residents, performers, politicians and partners, packed out Fairbottom Street to hear the good news first-hand.

Julie and Arooj


Julie said: “This is a cause for celebration for so many people who have come together to show their passion for the theatre and bringing the Oldham Coliseum back to life. Oldham Council has shown a fantastic commitment to re-opening the Coliseum, and by working together, we can really put arts and culture at the heart of a transformed town centre. It feels like the start of a new, exciting era and it’s one that has been driven by the people of Oldham.”

Cllr Shah said: “For many Oldhamers, their love of the arts was closely aligned with their experiences and memories of the Coliseum, and they expressed a strong desire to save the building. We have listened to them, and thanks to the support of Julie, Ian, the Save Oldham Coliseum group, and our partners, we are now making that happen.

“Alongside this, work is underway to build a more cooperative, collaborative model for the building and for arts provision more widely across Oldham. 

“The past 14 years have been challenging for councils and the arts sector alike. We’re committed to a better future and creating an exciting new model where we work closely together across the borough, share our expertise, and work together to provide brilliant arts and cultural experiences for everyone. The Coliseum will be centre stage of our work to transform the town centre, creating a better Oldham for everyone.”

Jim McMahon MP, who has also played a key role in the Coliseum’s re-opening, added: “This announcement is the direct result of people coming together to stand up for the things that matter in their communities. The outcry from the people of Oldham and beyond at the Coliseum’s closure was testament to the value that culture and the arts have in forging relationships to places and between people. 

“This investment, working alongside a model that brings local arts organisations and local people together with a shared stake in its future, will help secure not only this fantastic building with its amazing heritage but also the future of producing theatre in this borough.

“Theatres in this country have suffered not only from the impact of the economic crisis, as hard-hit families have been forced to reprioritise budgets and spend less on cultural activities, but also from reductions in central arts funding and from the squeeze on local government budgets who local arts organisations rely on for much of their funding. 

“This innovative approach across organisations in Oldham and beyond to develop a more cooperative model of ownership and operation will help ensure that the Coliseum Theatre, and hopefully others across the country who may find a similar model useful, become stronger and more resilient and are able to continue their inspirational work for generations to come.”

Brass band at Oldham Coliseum


The plans to bring the Coliseum back to life will be formally approved by Oldham Council’s Cabinet next Monday (15 July).

A report to be discussed on the night highlights the work which has already taken place to create a better Oldham through the borough’s extensive regeneration programme. This includes the council partnering with world-renowned regeneration and placemaking expert Muse to build a brand-new town centre neighbourhood of 2,000 new homes.

The reopening of the Coliseum puts culture at the heart of this new neighbourhood while supporting other businesses, attracting visitors, and creating new opportunities for local people. The town centre is already being boosted by a transformed Spindles—now home to more than 1,000 Oldham Council employees every day. A new co-working space and enterprise hub will open soon.

Spindles will also provide a new home for Tommyfield Market, including retail stalls and a brand-new food and drink hall. Construction of the market, which is being built in a newly extended section of the Spindles adjoining Parliament Square, is making great progress.

When complete, the new-look Spindles will also include a new venue for gigs and events above the market and a new local studies and archive centre. These new venues will be complemented by a brand-new food hall in the Old Town Hall’s Egyptian Room, which will open soon and run by one of the UK’s leading hospitality entrepreneurs, Northern Lights Group.

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