College staff, students and alumni are Dreamers at the Coliseum

Posted on: 02 June 2015

Dreamers, a brand new musical at Oldham Coliseum Theatre (19th June - 4th July) features a wealth of talent with links to Oldham College including alumni, current staff and students. Set partially in the infamous former Oldham nightclub and with an original ‘90s indie soundtrack, Dreamers tells the story of small town nights with big hearts.

From the writers, composer and an actor in a leading role to members of the chorus, technical and hospitality departments, a large proportion of the team involved in Dreamers have strong connections with the College.

One of the two writers, Lindsay Williams is a former student of Oldham College and the other, Cathy Crabb currently teaches in the Performing Arts Department. Award-winning Cathy Crabb has written extensively for the stage with her plays performed and toured throughout the North West. Lindsay Williams is a BAFTA nominated drama scriptwriter who has clocked up over 80 episodes of prime-time TV drama with credits including Emmerdale, Holby City and Eastenders.

Dreamers’ composer Carol Donaldson, an MD in theatre and television for 25 years, also teaches at Oldham College. Carol has a passion for vocal harmonies, runs several choirs and was choir director on last year’s famous Sainsbury's Christmas advert showing the 1914 Christmas truce. Carol has composed several original songs for Dreamers, and the show also uses anthemic indie music from the ‘90s including The Smiths, The Cure, The Waterboys and James.

Former Oldham College student Kimberley Hart-Simpson is part of the main cast playing the roles of Macca and Hayley. Kimberly studied on the Musical Theatre (BTEC) National Diploma. After graduating from Oldham College she went onto Italia Conti Theatre Academy and completed a BA (Hons) Acting. Since that she has gone on to work professionally in film and theatre. She has recently completed a run at The Royal Exchange Theatre and appeared in several films released at the cinema. Kimberley said: “Oldham College was the foundation of everything I have become and I couldn't have been prouder to have trained there.”

Kimberley will star alongside many well-known actors including Sally Carman, a regular in Shameless and Prisoners’ Wives; Rachel Austin, who has played Sophie Lancaster opposite Julie Hesmondhalgh since 2012 on both stage and screen in Black Roses:The Killing of Sophie Lancaster; Olivier Award nominee Rachel Leskovac (nominated for Best Actress in a Musical, Spend Spend Spend, 2000) who has been seen regularly on television screens in Happy Valley and Coronation Street and Coliseum pantomime regular Justine Elizabeth Bailey.

Following auditions last month, the production also features a community choir of sixteen women from the local area who began rehearsing this week. This includes three Oldham College students Paige Garth, Katy-May Parker and Elizabeth Hartley alongside three former students, Faye MacDonald, Kate Deam and Tracy Johnson.

The chorus also includes Miranda Parker, former Oldham College student and now the College’s Course Tutor in Acting and Musical Theatre. She said: “We are delighted at the success of our alumni which reflects the quality of our Performing Arts provision. Getting involved in Dreamers is an exciting opportunity for our students to work with professional actors which reflects the College’s ethos of preparing its students for the real world.” Another choir member Josie McCune, is on the Performance Foundation Degree course at University Campus Oldham, part of the Oldham College family.

With its professional facilities including dance and drama studios, a fully equipped professional theatre (the Grange) which seats an audience of 400, recording and TV studios, Oldham College provides the ideal training ground for the theatre industry. Whether students are interested in performing or working backstage on the technical side, Oldham College provides them with excellent opportunities to achieve a range of relevant qualifications alongside work experience in the sector.