New season brings exciting and mixed programme to Oldham Coliseum

OLDHAM Coliseum has announced an exciting Spring-Summer 2020 season with a programme featuring Northern voices, new writing, dark comedy, collaborations and a modern adaptation of a classic family favourite.

The theatre also welcomes three new Associate Artists – Grant Archer, Hafsah Aneela Bashir and RedBobble Arts – who will join Associates Fine Comb Theatre and three Supported Artists – Caitlin Gleeson, Nana-Kofi Kufuor and Sorcha McCaffrey – for 2020.

Chris Lawson, Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Acting Artistic Director, commented: “Our Spring-Summer programme signifies the future direction of the Coliseum and reflects a contemporary Oldham.

“I believe there’s something here for everyone and I’m overjoyed by the positive response from our audiences, who are keen to come with us on this next chapter.

“We’re delighted to be working with a whole host of partners – new and old – to bring the best work to Oldham.”

The season opens on Friday, April 3 to Sunday, April 19 with a modern musical reworking of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book by Olivier Award winning writer Jessica Swale, which will be directed by Sarah Punshon.

The first Coliseum-produced family show outside of the festive season in almost 20 years, The Jungle Book is packed with memorable characters, original songs and brilliant storytelling.

Then from Tuesday, June 9 to Saturday, June 20 the Coliseum teams up with Northern Stage, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, York Theatre Royal and Greyscale to present Gareth Farr’s Shandyland.

Shandyland is a story of life, love, death and drink at the heart of a small, northern family run pub, and a shout of frustration from an abandoned working class community.

The Coliseum presents Lee Hall’s dark comedy Cooking with Elvis from Friday, September 11 – Saturday, September 26.

When an amateur Elvis impersonator is paralysed in a car crash his wife and daughter are forced to deal with the aftermath. Jill tries to replace him with cooking, Mam tries to replace him with sex. Unfortunately, they both try out their talents with the same man.

From the writer of Billy Elliot, The Pitmen Painters and the 2019 hit film Rocketman, Cooking with Elvis is both provocative and hilarious.

The Coliseum welcomes a touring production of Richard Cameron’s The Glee Club presented by Out of Joint, Cast and Kiln Theatre from Tuesday, May 12 – Saturday, May 16.

Described as Brassed Off meets The Full Monty, Cameron’s celebrated play about miners preparing for the local gala is a raucous comedy featuring live music.

Elsewhere in the season the theatre welcomes Friendsical, a musical parody inspired by the hit TV show (Monday 18 – Wednesday 20 May), and Olivier Award winning comedy Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense (Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 May).

Oldham Coliseum Theatre co-produce Paines Plough Roundabout this year, bringing the award-winning pop up venue to Oldham from Saturday 27 June – Saturday 18 July.

The programme includes Hungry by Chris Bush, Black Love by Chinonyerem Odimba and family show Really Big and Really Loud by 2019 Bruntwood Award winner Phoebe Éclair-Powell.

From Monday, June 1 to Friday, June 5, the Coliseum presents its third annual Cultivate Festival focussed on theatre upskilling.

An unmissable opportunity for anyone looking to get into any of the many areas of theatre, previous Cultivate festivals have included workshops from Frantic Assembly, Equity Fight Director Kaitlin Howard and renowned director Chris Honer plus open auditions, Virtual Reality Theatre experiences and networking opportunities. Full details will be revealed in due course.

Khushi, a new festival showcasing work made and inspired by Oldham’s South Asian communities, takes over the Coliseum from Wednesday, August 12 to Saturday, August 15.

Through a series of dynamic projects that will bring artists and communities together, Khushi will present a rich mix of events including live performance, art installations, poetry, music and workshops.

The Coliseum welcomes six Independent theatre companies throughout the season:

  1. Plant Fetish by performance artist Chanje Kunda at Oldham Library on Tuesday, March 10. It looks at anxiety and women in Mexico who, fed up of men, are getting married to trees.
  2. The Last Quiz Night on Earth by Box Of Tricks at Oldham’s Bank Top Tavern pub. The explosive new pre-apocalyptic comedy runs on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17.
  3. Best Girl is a semi-autobiographical play written by actor Christine Mackie, inspired by the loss of her father and performed by her daughter Lois. The production was supported at Edinburgh Fringe Festival by the Coliseum as part of Venues North in Summer 2019. It comes to the Coliseum Studio from Thursday, April 16 – Saturday, April 18.
  4. Drowning, in the Coliseum Studio on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 May is the debut play by Dare To Know Theatre, a show about a 16 year old’s struggle with mental health.
  5. Ladybones by Coliseum Supported Artist Sorcha McCaffrey is an uplifting and compelling story about OCD, dungarees and being weird but not a weirdo. Following a successful run at Edinburgh Fringe it comes to the Coliseum Studio on Thursday, May 14.
  6. Shine in the Coliseum Studio on Wednesday, May 27 is an immersive psychological thriller that blurs the senses and tricks the mind as the audience search for a missing girl.

Last but certainly not least the Coliseum welcomes an array of special one-night events. Family fun includes Northern Ballet’s Little Red Riding Hood (Saturday, May 2) and Julia Donaldson’s Zog (Friday, March 27 to Sunday, March 29); music includes The South, formerly known as The Beautiful South (Monday, June 22) and a tribute to Queen (Thursday, May 28), comedy includes Russell Kane (Saturday, April 25) plus there’s a little bit of magic with Britain’s Got Talent 2019 finalist Ben Hart (Tuesday, April 21).

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