In Haunt

Combining local cultural discussion with one of the country’s best-loved savoury snacks – Oldham Coliseum Theatre have devised a winning recipe for their new online monthly meet-ups, titled ‘Culture and Chips’. The first will be via Zoom on the 16 December and marks a novel new way to enjoy cultural discussion, as well as a classic comfort food!

Culture And Chips

‘Culture and Chips’ will provide an online platform for audiences, participants and all members of the Greater Manchester community alike to virtually come together and talk about arts and culture. Even better, bringing your chips, as well as ideas, to the table… is encouraged!

Oldham Coliseum aims for this open-to-all online space to be a welcoming way for people to engage with not only the theatre but each other  – and it’s free to join in. Members of the community are also welcomed to share their views on what they would perhaps like to see from Oldham Coliseum in the future, and how the theatre can best serve them.

A key thing that the Coliseum is already aiming to serve in the future is – the chips! Although Covid-19 restrictions currently mean that the meet-ups are taking place virtually via Zoom (and following the second nationwide Covid 19 Lockdown, Oldham Coliseum announced on 4 November that the theatre’s doors would remain closed to the public until early 2021), when it is safe to resume the meetings in-person, Oldham Coliseum will be providing the refreshments… all part of their initiative to make ‘Culture and Chips’ as welcoming as possible.

Each ‘Culture and Chips’ session will involve guests from Oldham and beyond talking about their practice, connections to the area and what they would like to see in the future – as invited by the Coliseum. The meet-up will be formed around three questions or conversation-starters, with the topics set by attendees. This is an opportunity for varied discussion, to ask artists any burning questions, to find out more about creative practice, what this means to communities and how arts organisations can better provide for the wider public.

Oldham Coliseum has long been a key component of the Greater Manchester community after all  – established in 1885, it has served time as a cinema and even a music hall in its past, as well as being a theatre! Stories and memories about the place abound; it was even dismantled and moved from its original Henshaw Street site to where it stands today! Well-known for championing local as well as national talent, it welcomes a variety of genres including comedy, drama and of course the much-loved pantomime! Yet due to covid-19 measures the theatre has been closed to the public for much of 2020, and in turn the Coliseum set up its first ever Crowdfunder (titled ‘Get Behind Us', still running) which Haunt previously wrote about here. ‘Culture and Chips’ marks another way to connect with the theatre and its strong community spirit.

The first ‘Culture and Chips’ meet up is on Wednesday 16 December at 5pm, taking place virtually via Zoom. Tickets are free but must be booked via the Coliseum website

Oldham Coliseum Theatre

And that is not all! Although the usual pantomime cannot go ahead this year, there is some virtual festive fun in the form of Panto Digital Storytelling, as audiences are invited online to enjoy the unique telling of some favourite tales. From Saturday 12 December – 2 January, viewers can choose between the stories of Cinderella or Jack and the Beanstalk, inviting Dame Dotty Trott (actor Richard J Fletcher) or Cinderella herself (actor Shorelle Hepkin) to give their version of events! This is exciting online panto with a difference! December even sees a theatrical advent calendar from Oldham Coliseum: the Advent Plays! Running on the Coliseum’s social media channels from 1 December onwards, audiences at home can enjoy the unique digital offering of 24 short plays by 14 North West writers – all filmed on the Oldham Coliseum’s historic stage!

To find out more, visit the Oldham Coliseum Theatre website: http://www.coliseum.org.uk/

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