Following a successful proposal from Oldham Council, Arts Council England today announced it has agreed to allocate £1.845 million to support cultural and creative activity in the county over the next three years.
In March, the Arts Council announced it had invested £1.845m in Oldham, although this remains to be seen. That application has been a success, and Oldham Council is now set to receive the full amount over the next three years in trust and deliver an exciting cultural program that will provide the community and visitors with a variety of art and theater forms to enjoy. This will include a mix of commissioned works, participatory festivals and events, as well as performances by visiting companies.
This investment will help Oldham Council and its cultural partners, including the Oldham Theater Workshop and the Oldham Coliseum, test new approaches to programming, creative learning and develop talent and audiences before the new performance space is slated to open in 2026. The investment will also ensure significant local employment opportunities for creative practitioners.
Jen Cleary, North Director, Arts Council England said: “The Arts Council is committed to supporting creativity and culture in Oldham and this investment will enable Oldham Council, in partnership with local cultural organisations, to deliver an exciting program of activities across the county over the next three years. From new theater performances and festivals to community and school workshops, this program will provide local development and creative employment opportunities, as well as a range of creative activities for the community to enjoy.”
Councilor Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council said “Culture is so important to any town, especially in Oldham with its great heritage of theater and production. This grant from the Arts Council will help us maintain great cultural practices in the county while construction on our new theater is underway.
“We worked closely with local cultural organizations in the development of this grant application and both the Oldham Coliseum and Oldham Theater Workshop will help us bring an amazing program of performances, culture and arts to Oldham.”
A key component of the cultural program will be nurturing local talent and providing opportunities for young people across the county to unleash their own creativity. Oldham Council will cultivate local talent by delegating work from Oldham-based theater producers and by supporting artists to expand their activities. There will continue to be opportunities for community groups to participate in cultural activities, such as ongoing work with the Roma community. The Oldham Theater Workshop will host an innovative learning program that will encourage young people to participate in the culture and will provide them with the opportunity to experience high-quality theatre.
Duncan Craig OBE, Trustee Chairman, Oldham Coliseum said: “The announcement from the Arts Council of England of a £1.8 million award for Oldham Council to bring culture across Oldham over the next three years is positive news. It will give Council the ability to turn our collective plans into reality, to deliver a strong arts and culture program in town – we look forward to helping them make that happen.”
James Atherton, Artistic Director, Oldham Theater Workshop said: “Oldham Theater Workshop is delighted with the news of continued sponsorship of this town. This investment will help us ensure that every young person has the opportunity to participate in high-quality theatrical activities.
“This is a pivotal moment for the culture in Oldham. We look forward to working closely with the Colosseum and other cultural partners across the county to deliver a rich and diverse program that captures the creativity of everyone.”
Arts Council will continue to work closely with Oldham Council and partners as they deliver the 2021-30 cultural strategy for the county and new theater development. The goals of the Council’s strategy align with the Arts Council’s own Let’s Create strategy, which wants everyone’s creativity to be valued and thrived, and for all of us to have access to a wide range of high-quality cultural experiences.