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My Coliseum: Julie Hesmondhalgh

Julie Hesmondhalgh began 2024 in the spotlight. 'Mr Bates vs The Post Office' was a huge success, not just in the TV ratings but it acted as a catalyst for change.

Julie has always used her talent to be on the right side of history, bringing issues affecting society to the forefront of peoples minds through the power of drama.

The former Coronation Street actress recently wrote an article for The Stage which gave insight into the creation and impact of 'Mr Bates vs The Post Office' and also highlighted the importance of theatres like the Oldham Coliseum.

"I've got so many memories of the Coliseum," Julie said.

Julie and her husband, Ian Kershaw have been at the forefront of the campaign to save the theatre which holds so many memories for the pair.

"All the plays that Ian has written, they all hold a special place in my heart."

Covid was a difficult time for those working in the creative industries but when the world began to return to normal it provided some fulfilling and memorable moments. "I performed there in a play that Ian wrote for me, at the height of the pandemic when the theatres re-opened practically. I did it to a socially distanced audience which was quite extraordinary."

However, Julie reflects on her favourite moment at the Coliseum, seeing one of Ian's plays coming to life.

"I think for me, it will always be the production he wrote called 'Union Street', which was a play about Oldham, about clubbing in Oldham, about growing up in Oldham and I absolutely loved it. And when he wrote that play, he gave it me to read. And I said, I think you'll write better things than this and I think you'll write more successful things than this but I don't think you'll ever write anything that I love more than this.

"When we saw it on stage, I thought it was just an absolute wonderful celebration of Oldham, of music, of people, of clubbing, it was just absolutely fantastic. So I think out of the many, many, including lots of lovely pantos there, I think that's my favourite moment."

Julie is hoping she'll have many more memorable moments at the Fairbottom Street Theatre as the campaign to save it rolls on!

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Thank you Julie.

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