The Octagon is a thriving producing theatre positioned at the heart of Bolton town centre, attracting over 70,000 visitors a year. The theatre produces high quality productions of classic dramas, new writing and musicals every year alongside a successful Youth Theatre and community outreach programme. Built in the 1960s with passion and dedication, the building now needs to be improved to ensure it remains a welcoming, accessible place for audiences and artists for another 50 years to come.
The Octagon plays a key role as Bolton’s leading arts organisation, offering residents, workers and visitors opportunities to engage with the cultural and community life of the borough. The Octagon’s world class theatre offering is helping to drive the town centre’s growing evening leisure and tourism offer.
One year on since theatre’s up and down the country had to close their doors due to the Covid pandemic, the Octagon today give a first look inside their impressive new building following a two-year, £12million redevelopment.
The reimagined Octagon has seen the complete modernisation of the entire building with updated performance spaces, brand-new participation facilities, improved front-of-house experience and expanded backstage facilities.
The exclusive inside reveal comes ahead of the finishing touches being made and the reopening later this year, with a date to be confirmed in the coming weeks following the recent announcement of the Government roadmap of when theatres can reopen their doors.
“After what has been a tumultuous 12 months, we are now excited to be looking to our future as we plan our reopening. The Octagon is an incredible creative and cultural hub for Bolton and benefits from more internal space; is more environmentally friendly; has vastly improved accessibility; and enhanced customer and backstage facilities for everyone’s comfort and a new roof."”
Since theatre’s closed on 16 March 2020 the Octagon have continued to connect with the community by moving their programme to digital online platforms.
Audiences have been able to enjoy live performances and events including a live Zoom production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; a broadcast reading of A Christmas Carol; a festive online quiz hosted by Mina Anwar and family StoryMaker’s readings.
Their engagement programmes have continued to provide creative opportunities online with 3000 participants taking part in workshops, youth theatre, over 50’s Theatre Club and music sessions, as well as delivering Creative Care Kits to support wellbeing for those without internet access.
Everyone is eagerly anticipating when the Octagon can open its doors for audiences and participants to fully appreciate and take advantage of the great new facilities to enjoy start a new chapter in the new reimagined Octagon Theatre.