Sunday, July 3

Oldham Coliseum puts their Flying Carpet into storage for 12 months due to Covid-19

With a very heavy heart, Oldham Coliseum Theatre announced this week that its scheduled 2020 pantomime, Aladdin, has been postponed to Christmas 2021.

Aladdin will now take place from 13th November 2021 – 8th January 2022.

Artistic Director Chris Lawson commented: “A trip to the Coliseum’s annual pantomime has been a festive tradition for the people of Oldham and beyond for many generations and we’re incredibly disappointed that this year will be different. We have been working on Aladdin for months now with our amazing staff and creative team and we’re saddened that we’ll have to wait another year to share this with our audiences.

“However, our first priority as an organisation is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, audiences, cast and crew, and our second priority is to ensure that we as a company are here to create the magic of theatre in Oldham for years to come. We feel that trying to stage Aladdin as planned this Christmas would put both of these priorities in jeopardy.”

Chief Executive Susan Wildman added: “It is simply not possible for us to stage our pantomime with social distancing in place. The high-quality panto people have come to expect from the Coliseum requires significant investment – an investment we cannot afford to make if we’re only able to sell a small percentage of our seats. The Government has stated that it cannot give theatres any indication of when they can reopen without social distancing until November at the earliest – the month our panto was due to open.”

Usually at this point in the year, the making of the Coliseum’s panto would be well under way. The show would be cast with professional actors and a local community chorus and the staff team would be making set, props and costumes, ready for rehearsals to start in October. In a year that is incredibly financially challenging because of the extended closure, and in which local lockdown restrictions in Oldham and Greater Manchester were recently reinstated, the Coliseum cannot commit to investing money in making Aladdin knowing that audiences may not be able to attend. This would be financially catastrophic for the organisation and the theatre cannot risk its future, nor those of the staff, artists and creatives it supports.

Ticket holders will be contacted as soon as possible. All tickets have been moved to the new 2021 dates and the Box Office team will be in touch with all patrons about the next steps.

The Coliseum team is currently working on an exciting and unique Autumn season, designed specifically around social distancing and keeping each other safe, details of which will be announced in due course.

The Coliseum wants to ensure that the magic of live theatre continues in Oldham.  If you can help by making a donation to the theatre during this difficult time, please go to www.coliseum.org.uk

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