DARK comedy, exciting new work and the first in-house family show in almost 20 years are among the highlights of the spring and summer programme revealed by Oldham Coliseum.

In announcing the new programme, the theatre’s acting artistic director Chris Lawson said: “Our programme signifies the future direction of the Coliseum and reflects a contemporary Oldham. I believe there’s something here for everyone and I’m overjoyed by the positive response from our audiences, who are keen to come with us on this next chapter in the Coliseum’s journey.”

The season opens in April with The Jungle Book, a modern musical working of the classic children’s story.

It will be the first Coliseum-produced family show outside of the festive season in almost 20 years. Jungle Book has been written by Olivier Award winning writer Jessica Swale and will be directed by Sarah Punshon.

In June the Coliseum will be teaming up with Northern Stage, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, York Theatre Royal and Greyscale to present Gareth Farr’s Shandyland a story of life, love, death and drink at the heart of a small, northern family run pub,

Writer Gareth Farr said: “I come from a small, working class mining town in Lancashire where pubs are social spaces, they are community venues, they are places of comfort and exceptional conversation.

“The fact that so many are closing and at such a fast rate means that local working-class pubs could disappear completely from the cultural landscape of Britain and if that happens then what would happen to that environment?”

Other programme highlights include the bitter-sweet comedy Cooking with Elvis, a musical parody inspired by the hit TV show Friends - Friendsical - and Olivier Award winning comedy Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense.

Next summer the Coliseum will be once again bringing pop up theatre to Oldham town centre when Roundabout returns with a number of world premieres.

Chris Lawson said: “We are delighted to be co-producing Roundabout 2020 season with Paines Plough, and elevating our long-standing commitment to new writing in such an exciting way.”

The theatre will also be involved in both the Cultivate Festival in June which provides opportunities for those looking to get into theatre and Khushi, a brand new festival showcasing work made and inspired by Oldham’s South Asian communities.

For full details of the spring and summer programme visit www.coliseum.org.uk