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Oldham Coliseum appoints seven associates


Clockwise from top left: Grant Archer, Maz Hedgehog, afshan d’souza-lodhi, Lauren Nicole-Mayes, Dare to Know Theatre, Billie Collins, troublehouse theatre
Clockwise from top left: Grant Archer, Maz Hedgehog, afshan d’souza-lodhi, Lauren Nicole-Mayes, Dare to Know Theatre, Billie Collins, troublehouse theatre

Oldham Coliseum has appointed seven individual or company associates – theatre creatives embedded in the theatre's creative life – to work with the theatre over the year.

Associates get access to tailored experiences to support their work and receive support from the Coliseum staff, as well as space, financial investment, development opportunities and performance space.

Coliseum Artistic Director Chris Lawson explained:The Coliseum is proud to open its doors to a wide range of artists at different levels in their careers from across the region.

"We look forward to supporting them, and to their contributions to the life of the Coliseum and to Oldham to ensure high quality work is available to everyone.

The newcomers are Billie Collins, Dare to Know Theatre, Maz Hedgehog, afshan d’souza-lodhi, Lauren Nicole-Mayes and troublehouse theatre, while Grant Archer continues as the theatre’s digital associate after ariving in 2020 and creating works for the company's online presence during lockdown closures.

Billie Collins is a writer for stage, screen and audio and often explores themes of queerness, growing up, family, nature and folklore. Her debut play Too Much World At Once is being developed by Box of Tricks Theatre. She is also working on a new stage project with ThickSkin.

Dare to Know Theatre – Jake Talbot and Miranda Parker – is an Oldham-based theatre company working within the local community. Their new play, The Forgotten will be seen in the Coliseum Studio later this year.

Maz Hedgehog is a writer and performer who was a founding member of Ink and Curtains, whose work is frequently inspired by folklore and mythology. Their book, The Body in Its Seasons, is launched next month and their debut solo show, Let Me Count the Ways will tour in 2022.

afshan d’souza-lodhi writes scripts and poetry, and her work has been performed and translated into several languages across the world. She is currently a "LabFellow" for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University.

Lauren-Nicole Mayes is a writer and actress whose Blackpool home town’s brash nature and vibrant tone has heavily influenced her voice as a writer. Lauren was one of five finalists for the Screenplay Award in partnership with Sky Studios and Box Of Tricks, and is now one of their groups of underrepresented northern writers.

troublehouse theatre is a site-specific company whose previous productions have been staged across Greater Manchester in venues ranging from a pub basement to social housing property in Bolton.

Grant Archer is a digital artist creating theatrical installation work that explores the relationship between live and recorded media and storytelling. In 2015 he co-founded Take Back Theatre with actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and writer Rebekah Harrison, responding to social and political issues.

He said, “It’s been a real pleasure working with the Coliseum over the past two years and they have really helped to develop me as an artist. The building and staff are so enthusiastic and inspiring and I’m excited for future collaborations with the other associate artists.”

Previous associates include Nana-Kofi Kufuor, whose debut play My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored toured the North West last year; Hafsah Aneela Bashir, who created The Poetry Health Service in a co-commission with Oldham Coliseum and HOME Manchester as part of the Homemakers programme in 2020, and Fine Comb Theatre, which has undertaken Arts Council-funded research and development on which was based new piece Not Yours, Mine in the Coliseum studio.