Coliseum Panto Imminent

Coliseum Panto Imminent

The Awesome Oldham Coliseum Panto is almost upon us.

Cinderella 24 November 2012 – 12 January 2013
An Oldham Coliseum Theatre Production

Written by Fine Time Fontayne and Kevin Shaw
Directed by Kevin Shaw
Designed by Celia Perkins

This year’s escapade is described below by the Coliseum folk, modestly and in their own words.*

The best panto in the North West, nay, the land is fast approaching and this year it will be Cinderella who’ll go on a fantastical journey from rags to riches.

Lots of folks agree: the Oldham Coliseum Theatre is famed for its popular annual pantomime – as with every year Cinderella went on sale when last year’s panto – Dick Whittington – opened, taking £20,000 on the first day of sales. Sleeping Beauty (2010/11) won the prestigious Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for Best Family Show.

What more can you say about the magnificence that is a Coliseum panto? All the essential elements for a great panto are there – time honoured traditions like the slosh scene; the transformation and the inevitable wedding and walk-down – plus all the favourite characters: Principal Boy; evil villain and, of course, the Dame and this year we’ll have the evil sisters double act. Add a collection of songs both current and classic and you know you’re in for a fantastic evening of pure entertainment.

Many of the cast of last year’s panto Dick Whittington, including Fine Time Fontayne, Richard J Fletcher, Liz Carney, Lisa Holliman and Justine Elizabeth Bailey will be returning, so make a note in your diary because this is one festive bash you don’t want to be late for.

Coliseum Home and Starts the Winter Season in Earnest

Coliseum Home and Starts the Winter Season in Earnest

After a mobile season while essential refurbishment and repairs were made to their Fairbottom Street theatre The Oldham Colisieum is home; kicking off a winter season with The Importance of Being Earnest - and of course it won’t be long before it’s time for the the celebrated Coliseum Panto at Xmas.

The Importance of Being Earnest, 30 October – 3 November 2012
A London Classic Theatre Production, By Oscar Wilde.
Directed by Michael Cabot, Designed by Kerry Bradley

Oscar Wilde’s theatrical masterpiece is widely-acknowledged as one of the greatest comedies in the English Language. Wonderful characters, sparkling dialogue, gloriously improbable plot twists and a sprinkling of romance

Romance, satire, confusion: The Importance of Being Earnest has it all.

Jack is in love with Gwendolen. Algernon is in love with Cecily.

But when an identity crisis spirals out of control, the previously separate worlds of town and country collide and delicious mayhem ensues.  Thoughts of marriage and a happy ending must be put on hold until the inimitable Lady Bracknell can be convinced that the young men are worthy suitors.

The Importance of Being Earnest has delighted millions since its first London performance in 1895.  A scintillating comedy of manners, Oscar Wilde’s best-loved work overflows with dazzling wordplay and comic invention.  London Classic Theatre promise to bring this 19th Century classic to vivid, extravagant life with their customary flair, attention to detail, high-quality casting and impeccable production values.

In 2010, London Classic Theatre celebrated ten years on tour, having performed to over 300,000 people at more than 150 theatres and arts centres around the UK and Ireland. The company, led by founder and Artistic Director Michael Cabot, produces challenging, accessible drama for audiences in London and the regions. LCT has explored the work of some of the finest playwrights of the last fifty years, including Joe Orton, Harold Pinter, Brian Friel and Mike Leigh.  They have also staged more challenging work, with national tours of two plays by Marivaux, Bryony Lavery’s Frozen and a further two UK premières, Nightfall by Joanna Murray-Smith and Love in the Title by Hugh Leonard.

Royal Mahdness

Royal Mahdness

On Tuesday Mahdlo – which has been up and running since its launch in March this year; and in that time has acquired more than 2,000 members from the across the diverse range of Oldham youth – was officially opened, with a plaque unveiled by HRH Prince Edward (Prince Charles’ younger bro’ and the Earl of Wessex).

After being greeted by Norman Stoller CBE,  Bill Holroyd, William Lees-Jones, Helen Taylor,  assembled luminaries and dignitaries, councillors and members of the Mahdlo team the prince was taken on a tour of the building where he chatted with the young people enjoying the facilities, after which the official plaque commemorating the visit was revealed.

Price Edward himself noted that “unveiling a plaque may not seem to be the most exciting thing” and asked the assembled audience of young-people for their support adding that “It requires a great deal of skill” and that while he has years of practise it would still help if they make a bit of noise as encouragement as “you only get one chance to open a building, and anything could go wrong” he said testing the cord. Cheers all round.

Great stuff and appropriately Mahd.


Star Crossed Shakey – Sheer Brilliance in the Rain

Star Crossed Shakey – Sheer Brilliance in the Rain

Brass Bands, Bollywood and Big Love!

Forget about finishing the building repairs at the Coliseum – in future everything should be done outdoors - in the rain!
Seriously this was the best.

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with an Oldham twist. We all know the story and it has been interprested and updated stylistically in many ways – we’ve had the trad but chocolate box treatment of Zefferelli, the street gangs in West Side Story and Baz Lurhman's version and there’s been Shakespeare in the park before too. But probably not like this. In Alexandra Park, Oldham.

Well In this Romeo is Robbie and Jude and this version has it all with an added a dash of Bollywood and Panto and Pop-Culture a gogo. It’s the Oldham Colisieum in Alexandre Park and its brilliant.

Shakespeare in the rain, with a clown, an ageing hippy and gangs - and oh lots of stuff. Infused with Manc culture as translated through 7 miles into Oldham scallyness. There is some great sliding between Shakespearian speech and slang and contemporary-casual like Jude’e response to Robbie’s proposal to. Jude delivering the “Why, like the inconstant moon?” speech as straight Shakey but then continues “Marry me. Yer havin a laugh!”. It all works.

The afternoon monsoon lightened to a mild spotting of rain that just added to the authentic Oldham Atmosphere. Sound was great with actors discreetly mic’ed and a near invisible sound system hidden in the bushes – those would be Bose Bushes then. As oft is their way the sound presented was an eclectic mix of music and styles were presented kicking off with a Brass Band and “O’Fortuna” from Carmina Burana and moved through a range of contemporary sounds such as “Moves like Jagger”and classic standards like Rodrigo “Concerto de Aranjuez” at the Clubhouse on the bowling green. The Band also served as our guide in the promenade from one part on the park to another. When it was time to change the scene the Call was “Follow the Band.” and so we did, like Alice following the white rabbit to discover…whatever next.

All the Park’s a Stage.

Great use was made of the landmark locations in the park, Starting from the use of the steps at the entrance which became theatre rows and tiers giving the audience a view. The bandstand, WoW! Amazing  to see the bandstand actually being used the colours of the backdrops fitting the bandstand’s decoration. At the Conservatory banners and pennants were flying for the wedding party, where a Bollywood dance routine was perfornmed to “Go Johnny Go,” The clubhouse on the Bowling green for secret meetings, as it grows darker the scenery is lit.

More meetings on and under the iron Bridge then a parting and poison. The audience proceeding from there effectivly forming a funeral procession behind Jude’s coffin on its trip along the lakeside, to pass it and mourners above the lake then down to the boathouse where the seemingly dead Jude lies in her family mauseleum for the final scene. When characters left the stage they would often do so by disappearing through the audience and during the processions incidental characters who had wandered off scene would walk along and banter in character with us, such as - A couple of girls (who popped up at the start of several scenes) trying to sell a stolen telly.
In fact While I was typing these notes on my phone I was accompanied by a clown alongside me. In the dark. Brrr.

In all a stunning post-modernish cultural mix - typical of the soft of thing that the Coliseum crew seem to have a knack for.

And so to the happy ending.

Yep. Romeo and Juliet – Happy Ending. Not often you see that, but as with everything else it was tottaly in character for this show. The panto element kicked in with some interaction allowing Romeo to be warned by the audience that Jude was not really dead and “Don’t Drink the Poison”. Robbie (current on the run) was cleared of murder, by a child who recorded the fracas on her phone. So Robie-o marries Jude-iet and all live happily ever after. Well – after one last joyous musical number of “One Vision” that is!

We must have walked close to a mile in the course of the evening, so not only was  it cultural, entertaining and fun, but healthy exercise too.

Give and Gain Day 2012 – Oldham

Give and Gain Day 2012 – Oldham

An opportunity for the Voluntary Sector to Interface with Business organised by OCYA and hosted by Unity.

Location of the Event
Date and Time: Friday 18th May 2012 @ 2.15pm
Venue:  Unity Partnership, Henshaw House, Cheapside, OL1 1NY – Oldham Town Centre

Outline of the Day

  • 2.15 – Voluntary Sector groups meet @ VAO offices
  • 2.20 – Arriving at Unity Partnership Office (short walk) – tea/coffee
  • 2.30 – Welcome presentation by the Managing Director of Unity Partnership; Andrew Kendall who will give a brief overview of the organisation and an insight into what businesses are looking for from the voluntary sector. Tips on how to “pitch” to Business.
  • 2.45 – Tour of Unity Partnership departments
  • 3.10 – Press photo shoot
  • 3.15 – Q&A/Networking session with key strategic leads from Unity – “how unity could link in with the voluntary sector”
  • 3.45 – Close

The local chamber of Commerce lead for Oldham will be supporting the event via their attendance and will be publicising the event in their newsletter in order to get more businesses engaging with the voluntary sector

Unity Partnership
Unity Partnership is a strategic joint venture between Oldham Council and private company Mouchel.  The business delivers a wide range of services on the council’s behalf as well as other clients around Greater Manchester.  Services include IT, Property, Highways & Engineering, Transactional and Customer Services.

Unity Partnership has a strong community engagement agenda which is focused towards supporting residents of the local borough within which it operates.  Through staff volunteering Unity has developed work experience, mentoring and mock interview programmes.  More recently, Unity has developed corporate support of local charities and good causes such as Dr Kershaw’s Hospice and Saddleworth Special Needs Playgroup.  Unity has also provided sponsorship for community events such as the One Oldham Business Awards and The Halfords Bike Tour.

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