Coliseum makes long-delayed Petrichor VR show online only

Performers Ayesha Fazal and Dominic Coffey in Petrichor


Paul Genty

9 Feb 2021

After delays and postponements, bosses decide not to wait for theatre to reopen

Oldham Coliseum has finally called time on its attempts to present live-action/virtual reality show Petrichor actually inside the theatre.

Coliseum bosses have now scheduled the 35-minute production as an online-only event, which will run from March 1-7.

The Thickskin production - a dystopian dance-drama putting humans at the centre of a 1984-style cold and inhumane society - was originally intended to be seen in the Coliseum’s “Covid-secure” November season. Less than a fortnight later the season and Christmas show were scrapped by the second national lockdown. The continuation of tier three theatre restrictions and the current third lockdown left little idea of when the Fairbottom Street building could reopen.

Audience members for Petrichor will no longer get the VR-headsets, which made the experience completely immersive, but can get a flavour of the full show by watching at home on a mobile phone or tablet, preferably through headphones.

“Petrichor is a 360-degree experience, with action happening all around you, so we don’t recommend watching on a desktop or laptop computer or smart TV or in a group - on your own is best,” explained Coliseum spokeswoman Shelly Ramsdale.

“We’re suggesting listening on headphones because the sound comes from different directions, encouraging you to turn to watch the action, and headphones make it startling. I managed to see it before the lockdown problems and it’s quite the experience.”

You can book to watch the show here. A ticket brings a link to an online stream, and the show can be watched any time during the week.