Oldham Coliseum goes online

Published: 16 April 2020
Reporter: David Chadderton

Oldham Coliseum has released 100 Word Plays (about Oldham) as audio online and is preparing to launch a monologue challenge for students of its partner schools and colleges.

In 2019, the Coliseum invited writers of all ages and levels of experience to submit short plays inspired by Oldham consisting of 100 words or less, and the submitted plays were displayed around the theatre during September.

100 Word Plays (about Oldham), the first episode of what the theatre is calling its 'Mini Podcast Series' (it isn't at the moment a true podcast with a feed address to put into a podcast app but can be played on the Soundcloud web site), features 17 of these plays written by well-known writers including actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, writers of previous Coliseum hits Ian Kershaw and Lindsey Williams and local ‘emerging’ writers.

The plays were recorded remotely by a cast of Greater Manchester actors including John Askew, Natalie Gavin, star of last year’s pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk Sam Glen, Darren Jeffries, Jack Radcliffe and Coliseum Associate and Supported Artists Hafsah Aneela Bashir, RedBobble Arts (Kelly Munro-Fawcett, Louisa May Parker and Martha Simon), Fine Comb Theatre (Rachel McMurray and Catherine Morefield) and Sorcha McCaffrey.

Coliseum Artistic Director Chris Lawson said, “it was always our intention to record some of the 100 Word Plays as part of a podcast, but the situation we currently find ourselves in has meant that we can use these wonderful short plays to not only bring art that celebrates our town into people’s homes, but to also provide opportunities for twelve brilliant actors from our region. We have plans in place for the next Mini-Podcast episodes, so keep an eye on our Social Media channels for the next instalment. We're also making plans with other organisations in Oldham, the North West and nationally, more details of which will be announced soon.”

The ‘Off Out’ Monologue Challenge is being launched by the theatre’s Learning and Engagement team with more than fifteen local schools and colleges with which the theatre regularly works from across Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside. Students are invited to write monologues about “a character’s once-daily trip out of the house for exercise or essential shopping, focusing on characterisation, creativity and how our relationship to the ‘outside’ has changed”.