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My Coliseum: Charlotte Lister

Charlotte Lister and her husband James proudly paraded through the streets of Oldham in fancy dress as part of the Save Oldham Coliseum flash mob the day the Panto was due to open at Oldham Coliseum.

The theatre was a big part of Charlotte's life growing up.

"For as long as I can remember the Coliseum has had a special place in my heart," she reflects.

For Charlotte's family, like so many local families, the Panto was an annual tradition, enjoyed by every generation. "A highlight of the year for me as a child was the annual outing to the pantomime- me and my younger brother would be accompanied by our 2 grandmas, who also loved the Coliseum.

"We would all wear our finest party outfits, and would be excited for weeks in advance for this occasion, which heralded the onset of Christmas for us."

The Pantomime brought in a third of the Coliseum's annual income as people came from far and wide to revel in the magic and mystery of the show.

Charlotte recalled: "I remember being terrified of Captain Hook, and some dancing rat children, when I was very small, and every year being captivated by the amazing choreography, the fabulous sets and props such as coaches and flying carpets, and the dames stupendous costumes."

For many children, it was their first taste of live theatre, for some it was the only opportunity they had to engage with the arts.

"Singing along from the giant song sheet, the tubs of ice-cream in the interval, and shouting 'he's behind you' are also happy memories."

After Charlotte grew up and got married, the Coliseum remained a constant in her life and her and James are now active members of the Save Oldham Coliseum campaign.

"The refurbishment in 2012 left the auditorium looking fabulous, and I enjoyed many shows there over the years, as an adult. It was the jewel in Oldham's crown, and it is such a shame that it has been allowed to close. Please refurbish and reopen it."

Share your memories with us and join our campaign!

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