Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Octagon Theatre, Bolton
Octagon Theatre
Address Howell Croft South
City Bolton
Country UK
Architect Geoffrey H. Brooks
Opened 27 November 1967

The Octagon Theatre is a producing theatre located in Bolton, Greater Manchester, England.



The Octagon produces between eight and nine professional theatre productions a year in its Main Auditorium. Productions come from a wide range of types and genres, including classic drama, contemporary plays, comedies and musicals.

In recent years, the Octagon has specialised in producing great American drama including works by Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams.

The Octagon also runs its BoltON season, which runs alongside the season of plays in the Main Auditorium, with events investigating or complimenting the main season. This ranges from professional practical workshops to full day Investigate Days with casts and creative team.

In addition to its own productions, the Octagon also plays host to touring shows, including touring theatre, children's plays and stand-up comedy.

Performance spaces

The Octagon has two performance spaces:

  • The Main Auditorium, is a flexible performance space which can present work in three different configurations (in-the-round, thrust and end-stage) and has a capacity ranging from 300 to 400. Over the course of the season, the Octagon will present work in all of these configurations. The Main Auditorium has an octagonal shape, and it is from this that the Octagon Theatre derives its name.
  • The Bill Naughton Studio Theatre, a studio theatre with a capacity of 100. This smaller space provides a venue for new and adventurous theatre, educational and youth performances.


The Octagon Theatre was opened on 27 November 1967 by Princess Margaret. The first production was Annie and Fanny by local playwright Bill Naughton.

The building was designed by Geoffrey H. Brooks, Bolton's Director of Architecture, and was constructed for the sum of £95,000 using money raised by public donation. It was the first professional theatre to be built in North West England following World War II.

In 1987 the building was extended to add a studio theatre, originally called the Octopus Studio. In 1994 this space was enlarged and re-named The Bill Naughton Theatre, in honour of Naughton.

In the late eighties Farnworth born playwright Jim Cartwright was the Octagon's writer in residence. His plays Two and Bed were premiered at the theatre.

In 1998 the Octagon was refurbished using funds from an Arts Council Lottery award. This improved the theatre's seating systems and disability access, and allowed the construction of a new room for business hospitality, and a more spacious bar.

In 1999 a financial crisis threatened to force the Octagon to cease producing its own plays and become a receiving house for touring shows. Local people founded the Support Campaign for the Octagon Theatre, and under the slogan "Keep theatre made in Bolton" collected 12,000 signatures and organised several support events, including a protest march through the town centre and two benefit concerts. Financial commitments were obtained from funders and business sponsors, and the Octagon's status as a producing theatre was secured.

Notable performers

  • Peter Kay worked in the theatre's ticket office.
  • John Howard performed his earliest live shows at the theatre, from 1970 to 1973.
  • Dominic Monaghan appeared in two productions: Annie and Fanny from Bolton to Rome and The Resurrectionists.
  • John McArdle has appeared at the theatre and is one of the theatre's patrons.
  • John Saint Ryan appeared in three productions: A Streetcar Named Desire, Far From the Madding Crowd and Lass at the Man and Scythe.
  • Tim Booth starred in the production Saved.
  • Tim Healy appeared in the play "Looking for Buddy"
  • Jeff Hordley, Emmerdale regular who appeared in the production of "The Caretaker".
  • Matthew Kelly, presenter and actor appeared in "Oh what a Lovely War".
  • Michelle Collins starred in production of Romeo and Juliet and The Demolition Man.
  • Sophie Abelson. actress who appeared in productions relating to the Carry On actress Barbara Windsor.

External links

Coordinates: 53°34′38″N 2°25′50″W / 53.57722°N 2.43056°W / 53.57722; -2.43056

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Octagon Theatre — In the United Kingdom, two theatres use the name Octagon Theatre:* Octagon Theatre, Bolton * Octagon Theatre, YeovilThere is also an Octagon Theatre at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Western Australia.External links*… …   Wikipedia

  • Theatre in the round — or arena theatre is any theatre space in which the audience surrounds the stage area. In 1947, Margo Jones established America s first professional theatre in the round company when she opened her Theatre ’47 in Dallas.As outlined by Margo Jones …   Wikipedia

  • Bolton — infobox UK place country = England latitude = 53.5815 longitude = 2.4297 metropolitan county= Greater Manchester population= 139,403 (2001 Census) official name= Bolton metropolitan borough= Bolton region = North West England constituency… …   Wikipedia

  • theatre —    In the 1950s and 1960s a new wave of angry young playwrights (such as Osborne, Wesker and Delaney) re established theatre as a vibrant arena of sociopolitical debate with plays emphasizing a social naturalism focused on working class culture.… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • David Thacker — (born 21 December 1950) is an English award winning theatre director. David Thacker is currently the Artistic Director at the Octagon Theatre Bolton.[1] He has directed over 100 theatre productions including plays by William Shakespeare, Arthur… …   Wikipedia

  • List of octagonal buildings and structures — Plan of the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem …   Wikipedia

  • Pearson Playwrights' Scheme — In 1973, Howard Thomas, then managing director of Thames Television, launched the Thames Television Theatre Writers Scheme to support and celebrate new writing in the theatre. He believed that television owed much to the theatre for its supply of …   Wikipedia

  • Max Stafford-Clark — Maxwell Robert Guthrie Stewart ( Max ) Stafford Clark (born 1941) is an English Theatre Director. Contents 1 Life and career 1.1 Out of Joint 2 Personal life 3 Bibliography …   Wikipedia

  • Marcus Romer — (b.1961) is the Artistic Director of Pilot Theatre He works as a director, writer and actor. He is a published playwright work includes Rumble Fish, (published by Dramatic Publishing [1] USA), Out of Their Heads, Taken without Consent,… …   Wikipedia

  • Michelle Collins — Born 28 May 1960 (1960 05 28) (age 51) Hackney, East London, England Television …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.