Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Octagon Blog Has Moved!!

Out with the old and in with the new! We have an exciting new home for our new blog here so please come and visit us for all of the latest news, reviews, production images and more!

We can now be found at:

Monday, 17 May 2010

Rafta Rafta - Reviews

Friday was the press night for Rafta Rafta, and I have to say that my first press night at the Octagon was a brilliant experience! Met lots of lovely new people and thoroughly enjoyed the show. As did a lot of other people as well if the reviews are anything to go by, check them out here and be impressed!

"WOW... a glittering play that captures the diversity on offer at the Octagon and captures just the right mix of comedy and social realism. Brilliant." THE BOLTON NEWS Read more here...

"This excellent in-the-round production, proving the original's ongoing relevance, is a fine centenary tribute." CITYLIFE.CO.UK Read more here...

"A strong ensemble and great script make this an incredibly entertaining night at the theatre." UK THEATRE NETWORK Read more here...

"An extremely funny play that had the whole audience rocking with laughter." THE BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE Read more here...

"...the future looks extremely bright for the arts in the North West, in particular for the wonderful Octagon." DICKIEANDBUTCH.COM Read more here...

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Making a song and a dance for more men!

'Sure, he's cute - but if only he could sing!'

It will come as no surprise to women in the North West that there is a shortage of men
out there, but what about men who can sing?

Emmerdale star Amy Nuttall (pictured above) is making a desperate plea for male singers to form part of the community choir in Bolton Octagon’s forthcoming production of The Hired Man.

Directed by David Thacker, and starring Amy Nuttall in one of the lead roles, the production includes a community chorus that is made up entirely of volunteers from the Bolton area.

However, it would seem that there is a distinct lack of vocal confidence amongst Bolton’s male population, with a staggering three quarters of the choir consisting solely of women!

The Octagon would like to redress this balance and give the men of Bolton the opportunity to tread the boards and raise the roof! So, if you think you can carry a tune, are over the age of 18, male, and willing to commit your time, then please contact Elizabeth Newman for more details:

New Arrivals

It's all change in the Communications Department here at the Octagon - well for the time being anyway! Sally Boyd, resident blog expert, is now on maternity leave and I will be taking the helm until her return. Any comments, news, thoughts are all welcome so keep them coming!

Sally barely had time to put her feet up and enjoy her new-found freedom before her baby was on the way, little Maisie arrived on Saturday 1 May and both mum and baby are doing well - congratulations from all of us at the Octagon!

Last Laugh at the Octagon - Reviews

This week is your last opportunity to catch Comedians here at the Octagon, running until Friday 8 May, so make sure you squeeze some space in the diary to come along this week!

If you’re still in need of a little persuasion then take a look at some of the stunning reviews received so far...

"Rated 4/5" THE INDEPENDENT

"Comedians is an immensely funny, thought-provoking play which, in David Thacker’s energetic revival, entertains on so many different levels." THE STAGE read more...

"It is a really good play featuring intelligent debate about how we portray our society through comedy and the real meanings and motivations behind that portrayal…" BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE read more…

"There was a period, during the rise of alternative comedy, when Griffiths's drama about a night class for old-school club entertainers looked as if it might have become obsolete. Now that at least three British universities offer modules in standup – not to mention the furore over Jimmy Carr's "edgy" material and "Sachsgate"– it warrants another look." THE GUARDIAN read more...

"...thanks to the outstanding cast and direction at the Octagon, it is Trevor Griffiths who has the last laugh." THE BOLTON NEWS read more…

Friday, 16 April 2010

Comedians - production photos

Well, today is the press night of Comedians and it coincides with my last day in the office and having seen the quality of the production photos I am leaving the blog on a high. They look smashing.

So there will be a few changes going on here over the coming months. A new Octagon blogger, a new face in our department as well the fruition of some other projects that have been going on in the background - more to be revealed at a later date. Exciting times...

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Beating Berlusconi! - Reviews

Beating Berlusconi! is on tour and is getting some really nice reviews. It arrives here on Thursday 29 April. If you are, dare I say it after the run of And Did Those for fear of upsetting all those Wanderers, a Liverpool FC fan or just a fan of Liverpool then this show is unmissable...

"A must for anyone, theatre fan, LFC fan or otherwise. Any play that can genuinely bring out the laughter and tears in equal measure is worthy of any stage." LIVERPOOL DAILY POST Read more here...

"That's the magic of this production: it's not the story of one man, it's the story of many men and as the many characters make up the play, these many men make up Liverpool and their shared experience of one day in Istanbul is part of the cultural glue which binds them...It's not a play about football, it's a play about the heart of a city and how and why it beats." LIVERPOOL ECHO Read more here...

"Footage from the history of the city, the club and, most importantly, Istanbul adds to the intensity and reality of the raw emotion in the show. This play may have been tailor-made for local audiences but it is this that has made it such a nationwide success.

Whether or not Liverpool go all the way and lift the Europa League this season, the homecoming performances of 'Beating Berlusconi' at the end of May which relive one of the greatest nights in sporting history makes this show a must-see for anyone, football-obsessed or otherwise." CLICK LIVERPOOL Read more here...

Monday, 12 April 2010

Five Reasons to See Comedians...

There is a nice little piece on the What's On Stage website on the reasons to see Comedians according to Richard Moore who stars as Eddie Waters. You can read the piece in full here...

I have also just seen some of Bolton Camera Club's exhibition being put up in the Bar. They went into rehearsals of Comedians and have taken some really nice photos of the cast preparing for the show. You can see some more of their photos here.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Free Comedy event - Late Night Geek Fight

activ8 have taken a leading sketch comedy group and put them together with a group of local young people and given them one week to rehearse.

Young people from across the town - some performing for the very first time - have been making new friends, leanring new skills and creating comedy gold for your enjoyment.

These brand new sketches are made entirely by them and are all about the world they live in. You never know. You might see yourself up there?

Date: Saturday 10 April 2010
Time: 7pm
Venue: The Octagon Theatre Bolton
Tickets: Free!!

Free comedy workshop for young people

There is such a thing as a free lunch. If you are aged 11 - 15 why not come and join activ8 for some free food and a comedy workshop? You don't need any experience - you just need to be up for a laugh!

A free lunch will be provided and then you and your friends can take part in a comedy workshop with professional performers and other young people from Bolton.

There's no need to book, you can just turn up. If you want more info call activ8 on 01204 556501.

Time: 1pm
Date: Saturday 10 April 2010
Venue: Trinity Church, Tonge Old Road, Tonge Fold

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Easter Opening Times

Just to let you know our opening times over the Easter period:

Good Friday
Ticket Office: 4pm-8pm
Stage Door: closed

Ticket Office: 10am -7.30pm
Stage Door: closed

Easter Sunday
Ticket Office: closed
Stage Door: closed

Easter Monday
Ticket Office: 4pm-8pm
Stage Door: closed

Comedians - meet the line up...

As these apprentice comedians prepare to perform their acts in front of a live audience, Eddie Waters [above], aka The Lancashire Lad, is delighted to introduce the stand out line up for Comedians (opening on 15 April) . Which of these comedians are set for stardom and which will fall at the final hurdle?

On the bill are:

Name: Mick Connor
Occupation: Builder
Hometown: Somewhere in Ireland
What they say
"I want to be famous. I want to be rich and famous. What's wrong with that...?"

Name: George McBrain
Occupation: Docker
Hometown: Belfast
What they say
"Tonight you will see...something! I have what it takes. And when you have God you have it!"

Name: Gethin Price
Occupation: Van Driver
Hometown: Clayton
What they say
"I don't like telling what to think. That's all. I don't want telling what to feel"

Name: Ged Murray / Phil Murray
Occupation: Milkman / Insurance Agent
Hometown: Blackley
What they say
Ged "When are you gonna face it; you're not funny. You're a straight. You can't work on your own but I can."
Phil "I'd done clubs..Like the bloody wild west, both of 'em. There was nothing wrong with me. My troubles started when I took you on, believe me."

Name: Sammy Samuels
Occupation: Club Owner
Hometown: Middleton
What they say
"I wouldn't be seen dead working in a club like mine. I want the tops, I want TV, I want the Palladium"

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Comedians in training

Rehearsals for Comedians are now in full swing. There are a few members of the company still to arrive but we should have a full compliment next week. I am delighted to hear that we may also be joined by Trevor Griffiths [Comedians writer] which is very exciting. You can see some more images of the rehearsals below.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Job vacancy - Development Manager

Following a period of unprecedented success, we are looking to make a major appointment in what promises to be one of the most exciting times in the Theatre’s history. The role will involve working closely with the Theatre’s new Artistic Director, David Thacker, and the Executive Director, John Blackmore, to expand the current fundraising programme and devise and spearhead a new development strategy. The role requires significant experience in all areas of arts fundraising. It will initially be offered as a year-long contract.

For further details and an application form telephone 01204 529407 or email

Closing date for applications 12 noon on Tues 4 May 2010
Interviews will be held at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton on Tues 11 or Weds 12 May 2010

Job vacancy - Press and Communications Manager

We are seeking an experienced Press and Communications Manager to help expand the profile of the Theatre on a regional and national basis.

The role requires an individual with a comprehensive knowledge of press and media relations and a thorough understanding of theatre and the arts. The candidate will have outstanding copywriting skills and an up to date understanding of developments in online media. The position will be on a fixed-term contract until 14 January 2011.

For further details and an application form telephone 01204 529407 or email

Closing date for applications: Mon 12 April 2010
Interviews will be held at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, w/c 19 April 2010

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Hired Man - cast news

There is a nice piece in The Bolton News today about Amy Nuttall coming to perform in our upcoming production of The Hired Man. She talks a bit about why she wants to perform in Bolton and what attracted her to this production.

As she says in her interview:

"The score is very beautiful - it's very different to a lot of musicals out there..I like something that has got guts to it, that packs an emotional punch".

You can read the full article here.

As you can see from the photoshoot, Amy will be performing alongside Kieran Hill who recently appeared as Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream and will soon be seen on stage (with an interesting new haircut) as Gethin Price in Comedians.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Comedians - an update

After And Did Those Feet we will welcome Trevor Griffiths’ landmark play Comedians to Bolton.

Set in Manchester in the mid-1970s, the play broke exciting new ground and is considered by many to have signalled a revolution in stand-up. It asks the question: is comedy just about the laughs? A group of ordinary men gather in a school for a night course in stand-up comedy. It’s run by ‘The Lancashire Lad’ Eddie Waters: once known as the hardest-hitting comedian on the circuit. He is determined to promote comedy as an art form and believes that comedians deliver more than just gags. On the night of his apprentices’ big performance, an agent arrives from London to open the door to fame and fortune for the lucky few. But at what price?

The role of Eddie Waters will be played by Burnley born and bred Richard Moore [above], who is celebrating his fiftieth year in the entertainment industry. He is best known for playing the popular Jarvis Skelton in Emmerdale and Curly in the hit drama Band of Gold. He said:

“The North West, and Bolton in particular, is rightly viewed as a spiritual home of comedy. It’s not a coincidence that while Comedians is on at the Octagon, Peter Kay is playing some o the biggest comedy gigs in stand-up history just up the road in Manchester. He’s very much a comedian in the mould of my character, Eddie Waters – a man of the people, in love with the craft of making people laugh.

“But the play is not just a comedy; it looks at what is an acceptable source for jokes. Has the time of the mother-in-law joke or the Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman joke passed? What is it okay to laugh at? In light of the national debate around Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, this is clearly an issue that will run and run!”

He is joined by Huw Higginson and Mark Letheren who are also appearing in the Octagon’s production of And Did Those Feet, and Kieran Hill and Russell Richardson who recently appeared at the Theatre in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The cast also includes Colin Connor, Howard Crossley, Brendan Foster, Simon Nagra, John Bramwell and Sevan Stephan.

Comedians will play from Thursday 15 April – Saturday 8 May 2010. Tickets are from £9 on 01204 520661, or at

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Job Vacancy - Cleaner

Cleaner required for the Octagon Theatre

Hours: 7.00 – 9.30 am Mon to Sat and 2 or 3 afternoons per week 3.30 – 5.00 pm on a rota system, minimum of 15 hours per week

Pay: £5.80/£4.83 per hour. Telephone 01204 529407 for an application form and further details or email

Closing date for applications 5 pm on 30/03/10
Interviews to be held on 01/04/10

The Octagon Theatre positively welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

Monday, 15 March 2010

And Did Those Feet - reviews

Although in reality it isn't that long since And Did Those Feet graced the stage as part of our Anniversary season, seeing it again (despite having seen it four times in 2007) felt good. Really, really good. Despite knowing sections of the script almost by heart I still, genuinely, laughed at the comedy. Particularly, at most things delivered by the wonderful Martin Barrass and also Naomi Radcliffe's dismay at the lack of opportunity to make her perfect day just that.

I think a fair few people in the audience find "something in their eye" when Jerusalem is played at the end, the difference with seeing the show the revival was the emotional impact of the scenes focused around Sue Twist [as Hilda] and her on stage and completely bereft husband, Alf, played by Huw Higginson. I never thought that seeing a grown man bouncing a football with a far away look in his eye and a trembling lip would bring me to tears but it did. I could blame that on being pregnant but it wouldn't be fair to do so. It is due to the heartfelt and very real performances of these great actors. Anyway, enough from me. Here is what the press are saying...

"Mark Babych’s revival of Bolton’s very own play, with universal themes, is an utter joy to behold." THE STAGE Read more here...

" is the comedy that is most successful in this play, both in the writing and the performances. Martin Barrass... achieves perfect comic delivery... The comic banter between Mark Letheren as Ted, the superb Naomi Radcliffe as Martha and Curtis Cole as Jim also works very well... Mark Babych keeps the pace well and adds some lovely little touches... great use of sound from sound designer Andy Smith... great fun and at times hilarious, tightly and imaginatively directed and very well performed." BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE Read more here...

"Foxton’s design is reliably wonderful, and it’s a real coup to have Arun Ghosh’s compositions... Naomi Radcliffe is a touching and confused Martha... Susan Twist (always excellent) and Huw Higginson are very impressive... Snappy and well-paced, the play is a copper-bottomed popular hit... a thoroughly agreeable night out." THE PUBLIC REVIEWS Read more here...

"At a time when, to many people, Bolton is struggling as a town, this is the sort of play that can make you really proud of where you live.This is a play for anyone who loves Bolton, its football team or who appreciates plays about social history. I could watch it seven nights a week - it really is that good." THE BOLTON NEWS Read more here...

"Former artistic director Mark Babych returns to the Octagon to deliver a wonderfully textured piece of work that never fails to entertain.And Did Those Feet certainly has that feel-good effect and leaves the audience feeling much happier and even moved by the experience, which, these days, is quite an achievement." WHAT'S ON STAGE Read more here...

"But if you saw the original production, as I did, you will surely welcome the chance to see it again. And if you didn’t, don’t miss it. You don’t have to be a Boltonian and football fan to enjoy it." CITYLIFE Read more here...

"This is an excellent production of a cracking script and a great evening’s entertainment with some moving performances. Having witnessed so many magnificent Octagon productions recently – not least the recent superb Midsummer Night’s Dream - I am sure it will go on to be yet another winner for the Bolton team. Go and see it..." WRITE OUT LOUD Read more here...

"The flashbacks to war are genuinely affecting... But there’s also a great deal of warm northern humour, notably from Martin Barrass reprising his role as eccentric newsagent Bob... revived by its original director Mark Babych... who seems to have added a lustre to an already highly polished product, aided by a revised script... Lesley Hutchinson’s slickly and imaginatively choreographed crowd scenes are a comic treat..." UKTHEATRENET Read more here...

"its appeal’s evident in the rousing cheers and standing applause at the end – not the predetermined yowls of first-night metropolitan cast-friends nor the relieved irony of school-parties, but genuine enthusiasm for a story that touches (indeed, hits fair and square) people’s hearts and minds." REVIEWSGATE Read more here...

And a transcript of the review from Clitheroe Advertiser...

Former artistic director, Mark Babych returns to the Bolton Octagon to direct a revival of a production of And Did Those Feet. He directed the world premiere of this play in 2007. The plot tells the story of the famous FA cup final of 1923 when Bolton Wanderers played West Ham in the first ever final at Wembley Stadium with its iconic twin towers. I have to confess I have little knowledge and even less interest in football. I was raised in a rugby playing family.

However I found myself drawn in and captivated by this play by Les Smith and Martin Thomasson. It is a pleasurable evening of nostalgia and humour with a great feel-good factor. All the Bolton references delight the home audience but even the visitors can enjoy the witty script. The story of Bolton’s triumph is told through the experiences of four men, Bob the endearing comic turn, (Martin Barrass)), brothers Ted, (Mark Letheren) and Jim (Curtis Cole) and Alf (Huw Higginson). Jim is an avowed communist who loses his job. Ted is planning his wedding to Martha (Naomi Radcliffe). Alf, despite the pleas of his wife Hilda (Susan Twist), cannot bear to watch the team since the death of his son Billy (Chris Finch) in the War. Billy appears as a ghost inspiring his father to recall just what the love of one’s team can be.

There are some clever tricks, such as the pastiche of early films and newsreels and some catchy clog dancing that enliven the action and as the climax approached I found myself thrilled with anticipation at the prospect of victory. For a little while I was a real footie fan. This is a heart-warming reminder of a splendid achievement by a Northern Football Team and the Town that made them. (Pippa Munro Henden)

You can book tickets by calling 01204 520661 or clicking here.

Friday, 12 March 2010

And Did Those Feet - production images

I am delighted to report that And Did Those Feet opened last night. I have to admit that I have a huge soft spot for this show and I still think that the press night for the show last time around (during our Anniversary Season in 2007 when the show premiered) was one of the most remarkable atmospheres of any press night I have attended at the theatre.

So here we are on press night afternoon for And Did Those Feet 2010 and I can't wait to see how the show is received this time round. If you have booked for the show but have to wait a few days before you see it here are the production photos...

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Job Vacancy - Activ8 Admin Assistant

Activ8 Administrative Assistant (Part-Time 15 hours per week)
Fixed Term Contract for 12 months

We are looking to recuit an experienced admin assistant to provide support for our community, education and outreach department. You will be highly organised, able to work on your own initiative and have experience of word processing and Microsoft Office. For further details and an application form telephone 01204 529407 or email

Closing date for applications 22/03/10 at 12 noon
Interviews will be held on 01/04/10

The Octagon Theatre positively welcomes applications from all sections of the community.
This position is subject to a successful CRB Enhanced Disclosure check.

Monday, 8 March 2010

And Did Those Feet - behind the scenes

The cast are in the final week of rehearsals for And Did Those Feet this week or is that 'pre-match' training! Some of the photos look energetic enough. Joel Pammenter came in to grab a few snaps of them being put through their paces ready for kick off, I mean opening night, on Thursday.

They seems to be well into the spirit of it all and if you look at their attire they seem to have come over all Bolton Wanderers as most of them are wearing various shades of blue and white!

We bumped into a very nice gentleman in the foyer this morning buying his tickets for the show. Not only was he very excited about seeing the show again, he was also an authority on the Wanderers and Bolton's social history. All very interesting stuff.

Below is a review of Midsummer Night's Dream as written by Lindsay Wilkes. Lindsay is one of our youth theatre participants (see her in the promo shot for Well Swung above) and is currently working towards her Silver Arts Award. As part of the arts award she needs to review a show and ensure it is ‘shared with an audience’. So I thought as the readers of my blog were a worthy and kind audience, I would share it with you as it provides a different perspective on how Shakespeare is viewed by one of our young people.

Midsummer Night’s Dream, is one of Shakespeare’s comedies. This production at The Octagon Theatre is directed by David Thacker.

The two main themes of theshow that stood out to me are love and drugs. The four lovers act as if they have been drugged and when lovers get a love juice put into their eyes, the cast act as if they are tripping. A big part of this production feeling uplifting rather than boring was the technical aspects such as lighting, set, costumes etc.

The set design was really cool and funky. It wasn’t what I expected at all, it is very creative. When asked to describe it to someone, my answer was “full of big balls”! The lighting is always changing which makes the moment when Puck delivers his final monologue stand out. The lighting here stays the same, which helps you to focus in on it. One of the good things about the lighting is that it’s illuminous and the glow in the dark lights are mint -you end up looking around the audience to see who’s clothes are lighting up the most.

For me Titania's costume is to die for. I didn’t think that the costume would be 1960’s as I thought the play was a lot older! Whoever designed these clothes [It was Ashley Shairpe - Ed]chose brilliant costumes. The funniest costume for me was Nick’s, who plays Lysander, as the costume is flares and a multi coloured shirt, nothing like I have ever seen in my lifetime.

Also I think that David has picked a brilliant cast. The first time I saw it I loved Paula, who plays Titania and Hippolyta. She was outstanding, but for me Jake’s (Demetrius) and Vanessa’s (Helena) performances have been consistent and strong every single time. The way they act is outstanding and they draw your attention with all the running about and shouting that they do! I was very impressed with Rosie’s performance and how she had real tears in her eyes as Rob (Theseus) shouts at her in the first half. Also Vanessa’s performance for me was amazing as she wants Demetrius so much, that the more he refuses her, the more she wants him. This for me is something a young person can relate to…if we get told we aren’t allowed to do or have something, it makes us work all the harder to get it!

I personally didn’t know that Shakespeare did comedies but watching this show makes me want to watch more of Shakespeare’s plays. Before this performance I really thought Shakespeare was a load of old balls, turns out it is, but not in the way that I first thought!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Wanderers’ Glory Days at the Octagon

Next month the Octagon Theatre is giving you the chance to relive one of the greatest FA Cup moments in the history of the football club.

From Thursday 11 March, the Octagon is turning the clock back to the Trotters’ finest hour with And Did Those Feet. It’s a play tracking the lives of two families on the build up to the club’s appearance at the first FA Cup final to be played at Wembley Stadium. And Did Those Feet was written by Wanderers fans and University of Bolton lecturers Les Smith and Martin Thomasson in celebration of the way the famous cup run captured the imagination of the whole town. And a replica of the FA Cup that Wanderers’ captain, Joe Smith, lifted on that memorable day in 1923 has arrived at the Octagon to star in the show.

And to coincide with this memorable production, Wanderers are contributing to an exhibition celebrating the wonderful heritage of the football club. A collection of memorabilia, photographs and paintings will be displayed as part of an exhibition at the theatre before shows.

Mike Needham, Marketing Manager at Bolton Wanderers, comments “We were delighted to find out that the Octagon Theatre had decided to undertake another run of the highly successful play And Did Those Feet. We are proud of our rich heritage and that this story celebrates one of the Club’s greatest achievements. The play was hugely popular with Wanderers fans, young and old, last time and we would urge any supporters who haven’t yet seen it to go and see it.”

For more information or to book visit the website or call the Ticket Office on 01204 520661.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

A very nice email...

We have been sent a very nice email from someone that came to see A Midsummer Night's Dream. We are also getting some really great comments on our new ' customer feedback wall' downstairs. the meial was so nice I thoought I would re-produce it here.

Dear Marie,

You went to such trouble to ensure that my children and I would enjoy the performance of
A Midsummer Night's Dream today that I thought I would let you know that we really did!

A sensuous and seductive Titania (oh to be able to move like that!), a beautiful and truly sympathetic portrayal of Helena, a Lysander and a Demetrius in whom we actually believed, an absolutely side-splitting play within a play (wherein Bottom and Wall particularly surpassed themselves), a fiery and determined Hermia, wonderful music, great setting, divine costumes (I want Oberon's coat). It was just marvellous from start to finish.
My 10 and 8 year olds loved it and followed the script easily because it was so exquisitely delivered (isn't it incredible that the language is still so alive after all these years?). My 8 year old had tears rolling down his cheeks by the final act and my 10-year-old didn't interrupt once - rare indeed!

I have never yet been disappointed by the Octagon, but today was a real theatre-going climax for us. Thankyou so much, and please pass on our congratulations to players and producer.

Best wishes,


PS there was but one moment of potential embarrassment when both children whispered simultaneously "what IS going on?" as Titania leapt upon the all-too-accommodating Bottom in the elevated bed and the lid was closed upon the bizarre lovers - I deftly sidestepped the issue with a "she is tickling him" and escaped unscathed (phew).

Thanks for taking the time to write in. So what do the rest of you think? How about making a comment below...

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Free tickets to And Did Those Feet

If you are a Wanderers fan you will already know that they are playing at home this weekend against Wolves. We have been given the opportunity by the kind people at BWFC to place an ad for the production (see above) on the video screen at the stadium during the match and I would like a photo of our ad in situ in the stadium.

If you are going to the match this weekend and you are willing to take your camera along you could win yourself a pair of tickets to see the Wanderers in their finest hour, lifting the 1923 FA cup, in our upcoming prodution of And Did Those Feet.

The sender of the first five photos I receive of our ad on the screen at the Reebok stadium will get a pair of free tickets* to see And Did Thsoe Feet which runs from 11 March - 10 April. Send you photos to *One pair of tickets per sender.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The Hired Man Community Chorus - get your application in...

Just a reminder that you need to get your applications in by Thursday if you are thinking of taking part in the Community Chorus for The Hired Man. You can read more information here.

You can request an application form by emailing or calling 01204 529407.

Faces and figures

A couple of recent articles in The Bolton News. One here about the very lovely Vanessa Kirby and another one about something completely different here.

Job Vacancy - Head of Production

This award winning, unique, producing Theatre is seeking a creative, knowledgeable and experienced Production Manager to lead its production team in a new phase of the Theatre’s development. Working closely with our Artistic Director, David Thacker, the post holder will be responsible for all aspects of production planning, creation and implementation of a season of at least eight plays together with a range of complementary events.

An in-depth experience of producing theatre is essential along with commitment, drive and outstanding leadership and management skills. For further details and an application form telephone 01204 529407 or email

Closing date for applications 22/03/10
Interviews will be held on 29 or 30/03/10

Monday, 22 February 2010

Actors Guide to Survival @ Nexus Cafe

When: Friday March 5th, 7pm
Tickets: £5 ADVANCE ONLY

Come join us for the DVD launch on of the latest future artists film, the ‘Actors guide to survival’ with a screening and Q+A by director Mark Ashmore
Can’t make the event? Get the DVD here:

Everything an Actor in the NW of England could want to know about work, fringe, and networks to kick the year off and the career!

Come network with actors/writers/directors and casting directors in our 'Actors Lab',
24/7 theatre festival will be letting you know about acting opportunities at this years festival, will be on hand to let you know about training opportunities,

Hartshorn productions will talk about their West End debut and running venues at Edinburgh Fringe festival,

A must for the serious actor who wants to know about what creative and acting opportunities there will be in the NW this year. More info and links here

‘Actors Guide’ facebook group


Friday, 19 February 2010

Random Friday...

Have just noticed that on the homepage of the National Theatre is an archive feature of David Thacker talking about Arthur Miller. Worth a watch. You can see it here...

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Hired Man Community Chorus Auditions

I put a call out a short while ago for people interested in taking part in a Community Chorus. You can read the original post here.

The details below outline what is required if you wish to take part in the production and audition for one of the roles and the commitment you will need to make if you are successful at your audition.

We are looking for people aged 18 years and over for this community production and these roles will be unpaid. No professional acting experience is required just enthusiasm, total commitment and lots of hard work! Also, you will be required to sing.

Workshop audition sessions will be held on Sunday 28 February and Sunday 7th March. Once your application form has been received you will be invited to attend at an allotted time on a first come, first served basis. Recall auditions will be held at on Sunday 14th March.

If you are successful in your audition:
  • You must be able to attend all rehearsals in the schedule
  • You will be required to appear in the production from Thursday 10 June 2010 – Saturday 3 July 2010, appearing in all shows throughout the run from Monday to Saturday each week
  • The performances will commence at either 2 pm or 7.30 pm and are likely to last approximately two and a half hours (actual length of each performance will be confirmed nearer the time).
  • You will be required to be at the Theatre one hour before each performance in which you are appearing for a warm up.
  • A release form will need to be completed by you to confirm that you are able to be interviewed and photographed/filmed for publicity purposes.
    Please be aware that these roles are unpaid.

For an information pack (including rehearsal and performance schedules) and an application form please email or call 01204 529407.

If you would like to apply for one of the places in the audition workshops please complete the enclosed application and release forms and to be considered you MUST return them by Thursday 25th February to the following address:

Lesley Etherington
Head of Administration
Octagon Theatre
Howell Croft South

Auditions will be arranged via telephone on Friday 26th February so please provide us with a daytime telephone number.

Good luck with your audition!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Calling all Shakespeare Students

We are delighted to offer students that are studying Shakespeare tickets to see The Rape of Lucrece for just £5. Here are the details

Monday 22 February 2010

The Rape of Lucrece

Directed by Gareth Armstrong

“Shakespearean acting at its absolute finest” Three Weeks

“Powerful and horrifying...beautifully and excellently delivered by a master of his craft...You will rarely have the chance to experience great poetry brought to life this well” Fringe Review

"Sensational" Sir Trevor Nunn

Fresh from a critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Festival.Olivier award-nominee and RSC actor Gerard Logan presents his tour-de-force solo performance of Shakespeare's great narrative poem in our Studio.

This is a brilliant, brutal narrative poem giving an account of the terrible crime of rape and its dreadful consequences. for victim and perpetrator.

Time: 7.30pm

To claim your £5 ticket simply call the Octagon Theatre Ticket Office on 01204 520661 and quote ‘Shakespeare Student offer’. Tickets are subject to availability.

Reminder: You can also get under 26s free tickets every night this week for A Midsummer Night's Dream. Read more here. Call 01204 520661 to book yours.

Friday, 12 February 2010

The Octagon Seeks Community Chorus

Some exciting news for anyone that has ever fancied gracing the Octagon stage.

The Octagon Theatre Bolton is looking for local people to take part of an exciting and major community project as part of its production of The Hired Man. This epic production, taking place in June this year, was adapted for the stage by Melvyn Bragg and features a stunning musical score by the award-winning Howard Goodall.

Elizabeth Newman, Assistant Director of The Hired Man said:

“The Octagon has always aimed to play a significant part in the community, getting people of all ages engaged in the arts and realising their creative potential. This ranges from the fantastic work done by activ8, our community and education department, to the involvement of nearly 30 young people from throughout the region in our festive production of Oliver Twist. The Hired Man will see the Octagon take on its most ambitious community event in recent years. It will climax with the chorus of local people performing alongside our professional company in our production of The Hired Man. We are looking for people who are passionate about theatre and, of course, love acting and singing!”

Auditions will take place at the Octagon Theatre on Sunday 28th February and Sunday 7th March, and recalls will happen on Sunday 14th March. For an information pack and an application form please email or call 01204 529407.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

And Did Those Feet - The Replay!

We are excited to soon welcome back one of our most popular plays in recent years: And Did Those Feet by Les Smith and Martin Thomasson. The show played to sell out audiences when it was first performed as part of the theatre’s fortieth anniversary season just over two years ago, and went on to win the Best New Play Award at the MEN Theatre Awards for 2007.

And Did Those Feet tracks the lives of two families in the build up to one of the most monumental days in Bolton’s history: Wanderers’ appearance in the 1923 FA Cup Final, the first to be held at the newly built Wembley Stadium. There’s the couple whose wedding plans are threatened when everyone else, including the Vicar, have their sights set on an even “bigger day” at the final. Then there’s the father mourning his footballer son who died in the Great War. And not to forget Bob Stott, who decides to walk 200 miles to London for the final. But can he really make it there in six days… especially as he has to make the perilous journey through Yorkshire?

Mark Babych, the former Artistic Director of the Octagon, directed And Did Those Feet when it received its world premiere in 2007. He is returning the Octagon for the first time to direct this revival of the play. He said:

“And Did Those Feet was one of the happiest memories I have during my time as Artistic Director of the Octagon and I am extremely honoured to have been invited back to revive the production. The play was an extraordinary success in 2007, touching hearts and connecting deeply with the fabulous Bolton audience. I always knew the play would be popular when we first commissioned it, but I was not prepared for the overwhelming wave of love for it once it had opened and throughout its run. Looking back it’s easy to see why the play touched so many people – memorable characters, emotional storylines, joyous theatricality, and a wicked Lancashire sense of humour all combine to make this a truly Bolton play that celebrates this wonderful town and its strength of community.”

Martin Barrass returns as Bob Stott, a performance which earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards. He is joined by original And Did Those Feet cast members Susan Twist and Chris Finch. The other cast members include Naomi Radcliffe, who played Alison Wakefield in Coronation Street. Huw Higginson, best know for his ten-year spell as PC George Garfield in The Bill, also returns to the Octagon following his performance All My Sons.

And Did Those Feet is at the Octagon from Thursday 11 March to Saturday 10 April 2010. Tickets are from £9. To book call 01204 520661 or visit