This year Oldham-based Aksa Homes chose Oldham Coliseum Theatre as the venue for their 5th International Women’s Day Event, an event that is extremely popular with their female tenants.
International Women’s Day (8th March) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year the day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The day commenced with guests being able to take advantage of the ‘selfie station’ as they arrived before being welcomed to the theatre by the Coliseum’s Head of Learning and Engagement, Carly Henderson.
On completion of the introduction to the theatre, guests were taken on a tour of the building by Head of Production Lesley Chenery, where she revealed the inner most secrets of the Coliseum that has been a part of Oldham’s history spanning a period of 131 years.
When the guests returned to the stage actress Sue Devaney was in conversation with the Coliseum’s Artistic Director, Kevin Shaw. Sue is playing Dame Gracie Fields in the Coliseum’s production of Our Gracie and discussed the show, her career and the theatre. Gracie was a symbol of courage and hope, and a huge favourite during depression-riddled England.
Aksa Homes Project Manager, Georgina Nolan, said: “Holding the event at the theatre worked really well. Many of our tenants have not had the opportunity to look behind the scenes in such a historical theatre so it was very special for them.”
Another very inspirational speaker on the day was Najma Khalid. Najma’s marriage broke down in 2005, she hit rock bottom and thought she would never recover. But with true grit and determination she recovered and now runs the popular CHAI (Care, Help and Inspire) Morning Group in Glodwick, is the office manager at Oldham Race and Equality Partnership and participated in a national-touring play lead by Hardeep Singh Kohli.
Aksa’s tenants took part in interactive workshops where they learnt about the mechanics of a working theatre which included costume making and play writing. And to help keep their strength up they were treated to an afternoon tea with an Asian twist ‘desi style’.