Outside Coloseum Theatre

Outside of the Coliseum Theatre.

The Coliseum Theatre is a theatre in Manchester, England.

The Coliseum Theatre dates back to 1885 and began life as a Grand American Theatre, situated in the heart of Oldham and surrounded by almost a dozen other theatres. 125 years later, the award winning Coliseum is the only surviving theatre in the town. The history of the Coliseum is as rich as any other theatre, its past shrouded in mystery, speculation and bad business deals. In 1885 a Mr Myers contracted local carpenter Thomas Whittaker to build a permanent home for his Grand American Circus in Henshaw Street. A court case soon followed when Mr Myers admitted he was unable to settle the bill. Whittaker found himself owner of the new theatre and without having had any experience at all, decided to embark on a career in show business. In 1887 the town council announced they were planning to build a new market hall on the site of the theatre and so Whittaker had the theatre moved to Fairbottom Street on the site of an old colliery. The opening production was Culvers Circus. In February 1903 Whittaker sold the theatre to Joseph Ball who ran it on behalf of Peter Yates, the owner of Yates Wine Lodges. In 1911 the Colosseum (as it was then called) began showing silent films in between live acts. In 1918 the theatre was bought by Dobie's Electric Theatres. In March 1931 the theatre closed and reopened as a cinema but it only survived until March 1932 when the recession caused complete closure. In 1936 a group was formed to campaign for live theatre in Oldham called The Oldham Playgoers Club. In January 1938 The Oldham Repertory Theatre Club opened at the former Temperance Hall in Horsedge Street with its production of Shaw's Arms and the Man. The club was for members only thus avoiding the need to be licensed. Here they provided weekly rep until 1939. Such was their success that they signed the lease on the now derelict Colosseum, they renamed it The Coliseum and in July 1939 they staged their first production in their new home The Oldham Coliseum was the scene of a tragic accident involving the play that raises the hackles of superstition in many actors: Macbeth. In January 1947, Harold Norman was an actor playing the role of Macbeth, it is said that he did not care for the usual superstitions observed by actors in ‘The Scottish Play’ referring to the play as Macbeth and rehearsing his lines out loud. During a sword fight scene Harold was accidentally stabbed with a real sword. The wound became infected and he died in Oldham Royal infirmary on the 27th February of peritonitis caused by the sword wound. This unfortunate death was bound to have an effect on peoples minds, the tragic event, the nature of the play, and Harold’s lack of superstition. Inevitably Harold was thought to have returned to the theatre in spirit form, and he is said to have been seen several times. His apparition appears most often on Thursdays, as this was the day that he was mortally wounded.


The Most Haunted team caught some frightening phenomena on there investigation of the Coliseum Theatre.
Stage and seating of the Coliseum Theatre

Stage and seating of the Coliseum Theatre.

  • When Stuart and Karl were investigating the circle seating area one of the folded chairs opened as if somebody was going to sit on it.
  • Under the stage, after Yvette asked if the spirit with them wanted them to leave, the generator started working. The loud sound frightened Yvette and Catherine terribly and even scared Ciaran.
  • One of the Most Haunted team members was apparently possessed by the spirit of a young boy called 'Tom'. Yvette believed that she had persuaded Tom to leave the Coloseum Theatre and go onto the afterlife.