Dinnerladies star Maxine Peake joins our campaign to save theaters

Dinnerladies star Maxine Peake is fighting to prevent a historic theater from being demolished and turned into apartments. The actress, known for her roles in the television blockbusters Shameless and Silk, has joined activists fighting to save Oldham Coliseum.

The final curtain will fall on the 135-year-old North West venue next month after it lost its £600,000 funding from the Arts Council of England.

Maxine, 48, told a public meeting that the Coliseum was “the soul of her community.” She said the “vital and vibrant institution has an incredible history and if we can keep it alive, it will have an incredible future.”

A new £24m theater will not open until 2026, leaving an “arts access gap” for three years, according to actors’ union Equity.

It would have been a new home for the Coliseum before its funding was removed.

The head of the Coliseum, Chris Lawson, warned that “time is running out”.

Amanda Chadderton, leader of Oldham Council, insisted that the Coliseum was unfit for its purpose and “riddled with asbestos”.

She said the new site, with a 300-seat auditorium and 120-seat studio space, would add to the “buzz” of downtown and create jobs.

The council says £1.85m of Arts Council funds will provide cultural activities in the area while the theater is built.

Past stars to have performed at the Colosseum include Coronation Street actors Jean Alexander (Hilda Ogden) and William Roache (Ken Barlow).

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