Gallery Oldham opened in 2000, with an innovative way of telling the story of Oldham through five changing exhibition spaces. However, Oldham’s community, although they liked the temporary exhibitions, clung on to the idea of more permanent displays about Oldham’s story. At the same time, the award winning Coliseum Theatre, known for its community-led productions and engagement, was beginning to look for a new home. Julia Holberry Associates together with Levitt Bernstein Associates and Davis Langdon were hired to consider the options of a merger of the two organisations – Museum and Theatre – into a single building.
The project involved stakeholder and public consultation, comparator analysis, visioning and governance workshops, service and site options appraisal, analysing capital and revenue implications, scoring the options and recommending a preferred option. The recommended option was approved in June and a Round 1 Heritage Lottery Fund application was submitted at the beginning of August.