£5m Oldham Coliseum plan requires architect

Simon Donohue

An architect is being sought to work on the next stage of the £5m relocation of the Oldham Coliseum theatre to an expanded cultural quarter.

The project encompasses the re-use and extension of the existing former Victorian library building and the construction of a new linked theatre for cultural uses, incorporating a theatre with a heritage centre and associated public realm works.

The project is a collaboration between the Oldham Coliseum Theatre and Oldham Council's arts & heritage services department.

It will extend Oldham's cultural quarter, bringing together the producing theatre, young people's theatre, community arts development, art gallery, heritage collections, and local studies in a single complex.

Levitt Bernstein architects conducted the initial feasibility work on the scheme.

Competition rules require subsequent contracts for architectural services to be offered via a competitive tender process.

Oldham Council secured a £465,000 grant from Arts Council England to develop and move Oldham Coliseum Theatre to a new home earlier this year.

The development grant is being used to support a stage two application for £5m towards the total cost of the regeneration scheme.

The theatre's new venue would be south of Union Street, alongside a proposed Oldham Heritage Centre, and includes a café, terraced bars and accessible heritage collections.

The project was granted an initial £615,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund in November and will support a later second-stage bid for a total grant of £3.9m.

Oldham Coliseum says it already attracts 100,000 annual visitors, generating £17.5m a year.

It is hoped that the improved theatre will attract 140,000 visitors a year, 40,000 from outside the local area.

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