Oldham’s Grange Theatre has had to be closed following the discovery of serious faults in the building’s electrical system.
The fully-equipped, 250-seat multi-aspect auditorium, built over 50 years ago by the local council as an arts education centre and small-scale commercial theatre, stands on the campus and is now owned and operated by Oldham College and operates mainly as a home for smaller professional shows and college student drama and dance.
The college, which has had to find a new home for 25 performances, including a Christmas panto, believes the repairs could take more than three months and cost £500,000.
A proposed production of Sleeping Beauty, featuring Kerry Katona and local favourite Jeffrey Longmore, has already been moved to the nearby Queen Elizabeth Hall in the council complex, fortunately only 200 yards away.
Grange Arts Centre, as it was originally called, was once a go-to outside recording space for the BBC in Manchester, and as an educational institution was one of the first colleges in the country to run A-Level performing arts courses.
As such, the centre was home to some of the first student performances of the likes of stage star Jane Horrocks and TV acting legend Sarah Lancashire.