Maxine Peake leads fightback against potential Oldham Coliseum closure

The 135-year-old venue is at risk of being mothballed

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Actor Maxine Peake attends a People's Assembly event in Manchester on October 04, 2021 in Manchester, England. This year's Conservative Party Conference returns as a hybrid of in-person and online events after last year it was changed to a virtual event due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Protests and travel disruptions are expected with the police mounting a large scale security operation. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Maxine Peake has supported calls to save the Oldham Coliseum. (Getty Images)

Maxine Peake is one of a number of stars protesting the potential closure of the Oldham Coliseum after the venue had its funding cut by the government.

The 135-year-old theatre has cancelled all of its shows from March after it was announced that it would no longer receive its £600,000 grant from Arts Council England.

The venue has been a celebrated launching ground for many of Britain's best known actors including former Shameless star Maxine Peake who called the cancellation of shows "devastating news".

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Peake also called on action in the theatre community: "Ok theatre community what are up for doing to help save @OldhamColiseum? Let’s put our collective heads together… (getting the Tories out is a given)."

She also told BBC News: "Towns like Oldham are the very places that need cultural institutions like the Coliseum to survive and thrive. They give the population an identity, hope, pride and an outlet to express and to witness."

Oldham Coliseum at night. Oldham, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom.
Oldham Coliseum at night. (Alamy)

In a statement, the theatre said "the current financial situation is not sustainable for the season as planned". The final show is set to take place on 26 March.

A number of other stars have voiced their support for the theatre including Emmerdale actor Lisa Riley who wrote: "WE ALL NEED TO GET TOGETHER AND SUPPORT @OldhamColiseum. THIS IS HEARTBREAKING! This theatre is where we all began-my first stage performance at 9 years old!!! Let’s all come together PLEASE SHARE!!"

Emmerdale and I'm A Celebrity star Danny Miller also voiced his support for the venue calling for actors to work together to save the venue.

A number of future Coronation Street legends have passed through the theatre at one point or another including Barbara Knox, William Roache and Anne Kirkbride.

New Doctor Who companion Millie Gibson has also performed at the theatre as has House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke.

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