Oldham Coliseum closes this week, but it's not going away quietly. On closing day - tomorrow night - the theatre has one of its most star-studded event of recent years, with Christopher Eccleston and Maxine Peake both in the line-up for Encore.
The show - which sold out within 30 minutes of going on sale - features more than 20 actors in script-in-hand excerpts from 11 recent Coliseum shows, as well as comedy from Justin Moorhouse, Steve Royle and special guests.
This special event will welcome the return of former Coliseum artistic directors Kevin Shaw and Kenneth Alan Taylor, who will join Chris Lawson - the theatre's final artistic director and chief executive – in introducing acts throughout the evening.
Tonight the best-known of former theatre incumbents shares his thoughts and memories of the place - which he first joined in the 1950s in An Evening with Kenneth Alan Taylor .
Christopher Eccleston and Maxine Peake will perform excerpts from Dave Johns’s stage adaptation of Ken Loach's movie I, Daniel Blake, which was due to run at the Coliseum in June and July this year.
It wouldn’t be a true Coliseum send-off without the theatre’s famous pantomime, and form er cast members Liz Carney, Ian Crowe, Sophie Ellicott, Sam Glen, Shorelle Hepkin, Kaitlin Howard, Nathan Morris, Sarah Pearson, Charlie Ryan, Mitesh Soni and William Travis return for a scene or two.
The theatre couldn't say goodbye without an excerpt from one of its biggest hit shows, Brassed Off, which will feature William Travis and Diggle Band; Lauryn Redding will perform The Parting Glass from 2018’s world premiere musical Bread & Roses, the Coliseum’s own Gracie Fields – Sue Devaney – performs songs from 2016’s Our Gracie, Liz Carney will perform a number from 2010’s Up On The Roof and cast members of 2015’s Dreamers – Rachel Austin, Justine Elizabeth Bailey, Marie Critchley, Rachel Leskovac, Lauryn Redding and Kimberly Hart-Simpson - reunite for another trip to the famed 1990s Oldham nightclub.
Coliseum drama excerpts will include The Kitchen Sink with Sam Glen and William Travis, Beryl with the full production cast: and We Should Definitely Have More Dancing with co-writer and actor Clara Darcy.
The Coliseum’s Young Rep Company will perform their piece about the Coliseum spectre Harold Norman The Final Curtain; Juice Vamosi and Richard O’Neill will share songs and stories in Gypsy Jam and Peter’s Friends featuring members of Congress Players and Musical Friends will perform One Day More from Les Misérables.
Encore has been put together in two weeks since the Coliseum received confirmation of closure.