‘No magic money tree’ to reopen Oldham’s Grange Theater after closure

NO date is set for Oldham’s Grange Theater to reopen after its closure almost eight months ago.

A number of shows were canceled at the time, and others such as the pantomime were moved across the road to The Queen Elizabeth Hall.

And almost eight months later, Oldham College is still unable to set a date for a return to action.

Alun Francis, the principal and chief executive of the college, described the work as expensive with “no magic money tree” to cover the cost.

Mr Francis said: “Oldham College has secured nearly £50 million of investment in recent years to add outstanding new facilities to our campus thanks to the hard work of governors, senior leaders and staff.

“This has consolidated our future in the borough at a time when the Oldham Economic Review and the government’s Leveling Up White Paper have both spelled out how important it is towns like Oldham have a great Further Education college.

“However, this work is far from finished – and that includes securing the Grange Theatre, which is currently out of use due to the need for expensive remedial works.

“We are working hard on a solution to deliver this, but no one should be under any illusions about how tight funding is in the sector at this time.

“There’s no ‘magic money tree’ and we must operate on solid financial foundations to meet our commitments.”

The news comes after the staff at the college went on a one-day strike earlier in the month in an attempt to secure an 8.5 per cent pay rise.

Then, Mr Francis also used tight funding as the reason for the college’s inability to meet the strikers’ demands.

But on the Grange Theatre, the principal struck an optimistic tone.

Mr Francis hinted talks to cover the cost of the work are ongoing.

He said: “Fortunately, we’re experienced in challenges like this and are optimistic that it will be resolved.

“We’ll share our new plans to do this as soon as talks with partners and funding sources have concluded.”

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