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Oldham Bank Holiday secret summer

Fun in the park in Oldham and Shaw this August Bank Holiday weekend
Fun in the park in Oldham and Shaw this August Bank Holiday weekend

Secret Summer is a free, immersive audio adventure for the whole family created by Stand and Be Counted Theatre and Oldham Coliseum to run over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The shows will take place in Oldham's Alexandra Park (August 26, meet Boathouse Cafe) and Dunwood Park, Shaw (August 27, meet Woodlands Cafe) at noon, 1pm and 2pm, each lasting 45 minutes. The event is free and booking isn't necessary.

The two parks will become adventure trails, for a project originally co-created with the children of refugees, asylum seekers and new migrants.

Families will join characters Squirrel, Butterflies, Unicorn and The Beetles to roam through the two parks in an original story created by Syrian writer Anan Tello.

Using the sound app ECHOES (downloadable free from the Apple Store or Google Play), families will be guided around the park encountering surprises and uncovering the secrets of the park. The soundtrack is available in English and Arabic.

The events come as a result of Oldham Council's receipt of £1.8million, originally expected to go to the Coliseum but diverted to the council for extra-curricular cultural events over three years while it prepares a new theatre in the Oldham "cultural quarter", a quarter of a mile from the now-closed Coliseum.

Oldham Coliseum Theatre - the organisation continuing the former theatre company's presence in Oldham's arts life - will receive £450,000 from this money.

Rosie MacPherson, artistic director and joint CEO at SBC Theatre, said: “We’re really excited to bring the Secret Summer adventure to Oldham. We are incredibly proud of this project, which we co-created with Youth Theatre of Sanctuary - young people from around the world between 3-15 who now call the UK their home."

Coliseum chairman Duncan Craig said: “This is the first step in a new chapter for the Coliseum. We are fully committed to working with partners in Oldham and beyond to deliver high-quality theatrical experiences for local audiences, and inviting theatregoers from across Greater Manchester to join us as we start reimagining our organisation."


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