Plans for a new Coliseum Theatre have been approved in a move that will see it occupying a stunning new state-of-the-art facility in Oldham town centre.
Oldham Council and Oldham Coliseum Theatre have been working on a redesign with Mecanoo, the project architects, and a studio theatre has been added in response to feedback on the initial designs.
The Coliseum is to relocate from its current home on Fairbottom Street to Southgate Street car park site, with a frontage on Union Street, and the plans were given the green light by the Planning Committee (23 August).
The new build project will be home to a 550-seat auditorium and a 170-seat studio theatre, as well as improved front of house facilities which will include a café bar and outdoor terrace area.
The Coliseum Theatre will form part of a new Cultural Quarter which will include a new Heritage and Arts Centre alongside the popular Gallery Oldham, Library and Lifelong Learning Centre.
All are sited at a prominent town centre gateway and just yards from the Oldham Central Metrolink stop.
Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “The Coliseum will be a central part of our ambitious new Cultural Quarter and will put Oldham firmly on the map as a cultural destination, attracting new visitors to the town.
“The Coliseum is deeply rooted in Oldham’s history and I’m delighted that we can get on with this project and create something special for future generations of theatre-goers.”
Kevin Shaw, Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted as this very exciting project takes another important step forward.
“This move, the second in our 132 year history, will see the Coliseum inhabit a purpose built theatre that will enable us to build on our strengths, realise our rich potential and make even more ambitious theatre for our audiences from Oldham and beyond.
“Our commitment to our existing and new audiences remains – we’ll continue to deliver our fantastic productions and there will be even more opportunities for participants to engage with the theatre. We will take our famous warm welcome with us and ensure that coming to the Coliseum is a rewarding experience for everyone.”
The project was given the go-ahead after a successful joint funding bid by Oldham Council and Oldham Coliseum Theatre secured a £7.1m National Lottery-funded capital grant from Arts Council England towards the project.
Construction work is anticipated to start on site in early 2018 with the venue set to open in 2020.