Professional theatre set to return to Tameside
Tameside’s theatregoers have received a boost, thanks to recent news regarding the borough’s only professional theatre. The Tameside Hippodrome on Oldham Road, Ashton-under-Lyne is set to reopen.
The Hippodrome Limited, a Community Interest Company, is on the verge of agreeing a lease with Tameside MBC. When agreed, The Hippodrome Ltd will operate the theatre on a long term basis. Tameside MBC will own the building, with the theatre restored to its Art Deco glory.
The proposed arrangement is based upon a similar model adopted by the Bradford Alhambra, the Buxton Opera House and, closer to home, the Oldham Coliseum. Its reopening could boost Ashton’s night time economy, which has been affected by falling disposable incomes as well the theatre’s hiatus.
A senior member of the Executive Cabinet said early today, “..it is a big move forward and we do want you to be successful in reopening the theatre for Tameside”.
Tameside Hippodrome has been closed since the 31 March 2008. The borough’s residents have to travel to Oldham, Manchester and Stockport for first class theatrical entertainment. To compensate, a series of professional theatrical productions have toured the borough. Pantomimes and plays have been performed in other venues throughout Tameside, such as the Jubilee Hall in Dukinfield, Ashton’s and Hyde’s town halls, and Mossley’s George Lawton Hall.
Another boost to The Hippodrome Limited is Tameside College’s return to the centre of Ashton-under-Lyne, giving its drama and performing arts students a first class venue on their doorstep.
With the Metrolink up and running, plus a newly electrified railway and a new bus station to come nearby, Tameside Hippodrome could be back where it belongs. As a first class venue less than 20 minutes from Manchester city centre, and one which its borough’s citizens have every right to be proud of.
This is not only good news for the people of Tameside, but also for theatregoers far and wide. Tomorrow’s performers will once again, be able to tread on the same boards which Charlie Chaplin did a century or so ago.
S.V., 01 August 2014.