The Octagon Theatre, Bolton

The Octagon Theatre is located in Bolton, Greater Manchester, England. It was launched in the year 1967 by Princess Margaret. The theatre is capable of holding a large number of people with its main Auditorium having a capacity of about 400 seats. The theatre was built by Architect Geoffery H. Brooks and underwent some minor refurbishment in the year 1998.

In a year, the Octagon has the capability of producing eight to nine major theatre productions in its Main Auditorium. The productions vary in genres. The different type of genres include; comedies, classic dramas, plays and musicals. The theatre has even been recently responsible of producing great dramas including projects by Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller.

This theatre also has its very own BoltON season that has been running at the same time with the season of plays in the Main Auditorium, with events that can complement the main season. They range from practical workshops to full time investigative days with casts and a creative team.

The major performance space in the Octagon is the Main Auditorium but it also has The Bill Naughton Studio Theatre as its secondary stage. The Main Auditorium has a very flexible performance space since it is quite large. Strangely, the theatre was formerly known as the Hexagon Theatre due to its hexagonal shape but the current name was chosen instead.

The Bill Naughton Studio Theatre being a secondary performances stage, is smaller and can only hold a quarter of the number of people that the main stage can hold. This smaller stage however, plays a very good role in providing a venue for the new and upcoming talents. This space that was originally known as the Octopus Studio, changed its name to The Naughton Studio in honor of Naughton in the year 1994.

Back in 1999, The Octagon Theatre suffered a financial crisis that threatened to halt its capability to produce own plays and go on to become a receiving house for touring shows. Due to this, the residents of that area came together and formed the Support Campaign for the Octagon Theatre. They were under the slogan “Keep theatre made in Bolton” and happened to collect more than 12,000 signatures thus making it possible for them to organize a fundraising event that secured Octagon’s status.

The theatre is now still continuing and very notable perfomers are seen there frequently. Their likes include Peter Kay who used to work in the theatre’s ticket office, Dominic Monaghan who has appeared in two major films produced by the theatre, John Howard and many more.

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