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All Women’s Writing Workshop

Incubate showcase

20 November

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Actor and writer Stephanie Street from the cast of Mixed Up North leads a writing group for women, exploring the issues raised in the play. 11am – 2pm | FREE – book with Ticket Office

Directing David Thacker leads a workshop for directors and would-be directors. David shares some of his experience and the techniques he has learnt from directing for theatre and television. This is intended for nonprofessional enthusiastic directors of all ages and levels of experience.

Sue Hodgkiss, CBE DL

Principal Sponsor

7 December

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Incubate is an exciting new writing collaboration between the Octagon and North West Playwrights, bringing together a group of talented, emerging playwrights to work with Elizabeth Newman, the Octagon’s ITV Theatre Director. Incubate Showcase is a chance for an audience to share and investigate their work. In association with North West Playwrights 8.30pm | FREE – book with Ticket Office

PLUS: We will also be holding special acting workshops in association with Actors Centre North. Equity members only. Visit for more information.

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7pm | FREE – book with Ticket Office

23 October

19 November

Sue Johnston in conversation with David Thacker

Lancashire Folklore

Sue Johnston OBE has known David Thacker since before Brookside launched her to national fame, and before he was appointed Director at the Dukes Playhouse Lancaster – at the time the youngest Artistic Director in the country. She discusses David’s eight ‘Desert Island Productions’ – productions that he has directed that have been milestones in his career and hold a special place in his heart.

In celebration of Lancashire Day, John Doughty takes us on a journey through Lancashire and North West folklore, looking at the histories and the origins of the best-loved local tales. 7.30pm | £5 | Studio

7.30pm | FREE – book with Ticket Office Studio

2 November

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Matthew Welton and Paul Griffiths

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Matthew Welton received the Jerwood-Aldeburgh First Collection Prize for The Book of Matthew, which was a Guardian Book of the Year. Paul Griffiths is an internationally renowned music critic and the author of numerous books on music including A Concise History of Western Music. 8pm | £4 (£2 concessions) | Studio

9 November

Susan Wicks and Andrew Martin

Poetry and Prose Now!

Susan Wicks is the author of five collections of poetry, two novels and a collection of short stories. Andrew Martin’s novels include Bilton, The Bobby Dazzlers, The Necropolis Railway, Murder at Deviation Junction, Death on a Branch Line and The Last Train to Scarborough.

Contemporary poets and novelists read their own work

8pm | £4 (£2 concessions) | Hospitality Suite

12 October

Chris Killen and Annie Clarkson Chris Killen won the 2007 Manchester Literary Festival's Blog Award for his innovative fiction site Day of Moustaches. Annie Clarkson is a poet and short fiction writer from Manchester. Her first chapbook of poetry and prose, Winter Hands, was published in 2007. 8pm | £4 (£2 concessions) | Hospitality Suite

Poetry on a Plate Classic Poets at lunchtime – eat as you listen Performed by Octagon Theatre Bolton actors Director: Elizabeth Newman 9 October - John Donne Was he the greatest of all Love Poets? 6 November - Samuel Taylor Coleridge Was he the strangest of all Romantic Poets? 10 December - TS Eliot Was he the most influential of all 20th Century Poets? 1pm – 2pm | £4 (£2 concessions) Hospitality Suite

16 November

Michael Haslam and Tom Jenks Michael Haslam was born in Bolton in 1947. Widely published in the early 1970s, he founded the small press Open Township and edited the magazine Folded Sheets. Tom Jenks is a poet, short story writer, novelist, reviewer and essayist. His first collection, A Priori, was published in 2008. 8pm | £4 (£2 concessions) | Hospitality Suite

Photograph courtesy of ITV plc

Call: 01204 520661 Season Ticket holders receive 10% off all ON events

“An inventive and innovative approach to help all theatregoers enrich their experience. BoltON gives you extra events to supplement the season of plays in the Octagon Main Auditorium. There is an impressive variety of stimulating and creative events all over the Octagon. The links between the main season of plays show great imagination. I hope to see both The Hired Man and its supplements in June and I hope you will be there too.”


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12 September

16 – 18 September

Who Needs Writers?

Three of the Best 24:7 Theatre Festival

An investigation into Verbatim Theatre Is verbatim theatre an exciting and potentially powerful theatre form or a dishonest manipulation? David Edgar investigates this with Max Stafford-Clark, Robin Soans, David Thacker, Stephanie Street, Alecky Blythe, actors from the Octagon company and some of the people whose words are used in Mixed Up North and other verbatim productions.

Three top shows from 24:7 - Manchester’s award-winning annual showcase of new one-hour plays by local writers. 7pm | £12 (£10 concessions)

23 – 24 September

Corin Redgrave in De Profundis

In association with North West Playwrights 10am – 6pm £15 (£12 concessions) including matinee performance £5 morning only | Main Auditorium

By Oscar Wilde, edited by Merlin Holland Corin Redgrave brings one of the most moving love letters ever written to life in this exceptional one-man show. De Profundis was written in prison by Oscar Wilde to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas (Bosie). Corin Redgrave, son of Michael Redgrave, brother of Vanessa and Lynn and father of Jemma, has worked frequently for the National Theatre, RSC, in the West End, at the Young Vic, in film and on TV. This is his debut at the Octagon. De Profundis was originally produced at the National Theatre.

19 September

Investigating Three of the Best 24:7 Chaired by Martin Thomasson - co-writer (with Les Smith) of And Did Those Feet and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Bolton. The three selected plays from 24:7 will be performed in a day-long event that gives time for analysis and discussion between each play with the writers, directors and cast. Where do the playwrights go from here and how would the audience like to see them move forward?

7.30pm | £12 (£10 concessions)

12 – 17 October Oxfordshire Theatre Company presents

Dancing in My Dreams

10am – 6pm | £16 (£14 concessions) including performances | Studio

By Neil Duffield With songs from the 1930s (Top Hat, Dancing Cheek to Cheek) and ‘Hollywood’ movement, Dancing in My Dreams is inspired by the many children whose lives were changed for ever by wartime Britain. Neil Duffield is the award-winning playwright and adaptor of the Octagon’s production of A Christmas Carol.

5 October

Dancing in My Dreams will be enjoyed by anyone from ages 8 to 108. 7.30pm (Saturday matinee 2pm) | £10 (£8 concessions)

Working with Arthur Miller Les Smith talks to David Thacker about his close relationship with the great playwright and their celebrated work together over a number of years. 5.30pm – 7pm | FREE – places must be booked with Ticket Office Studio

14 October 20 October Ensemble presents

All My Sons An Investigation into the Play

The Uninvited – Songs and Voices of Exile

David Thacker leads some of the cast of All My Sons in an investigation of the play.

Devised and performed by Elizabeth Mansfield The Uninvited is a tour de force with poems, writings and songs telling the extraordinary stories of refugees and exiles from all over the world, past and present. “Mansfield’s stellar acting and singing is mind-blowing.” What’s On in London 7.30pm | £8 (£6 concessions)

22 – 24 October Octagon Theatre Bolton presents

Seven Jewish Children By Caryl Churchill Director: Elizabeth Newman “Caryl Churchill’s ten-minute play was written in response to the recent tragic events in Gaza. Seven scenes in which parents, grandparents and relatives debate how much children should know and not know. Her play becomes a heartfelt lamentation for the future generations.” Michael Billington, The Guardian FREE – Donations to Medical Aid Gaza Post show (in the Main Auditorium after All My Sons)

6 November

Trumbo By Christopher Trumbo, from the letters of Dalton Trumbo Cast: Corin Redgrave and Nick Waring Director: John Dove When legendary screen writer Dalton Trumbo stood up to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, he was thrown in prison and blacklisted as one of the ‘Hollywood Ten’. Based on his brilliant and razor sharp letters to friends, former friends and family, Christopher Trumbo reveals how the author of Spartacus, Roman Holiday and Exodus took on Congress, Hollywood and the Red Scare – and won. “A shocking tale of persecution which stands as a potent warning to society today.” Whatsonstage “Corin Redgrave inhabits a coruscating, charismatic character, caressing speeches off the page. ****” UKTW 7.30pm | £12 (£10 concessions)

14 – 19 December Octagon Theatre Bolton and Azure Theatre Productions present

The Enemies Within By Ron Rose Director: David Thacker For the 25th anniversary year of the Great Miners’ Strike, most of the cast of David Thacker’s 1985 production come back together to revive this pioneering piece of verbatim theatre. Ron Rose has written more than 60 plays performed by many of the country’s leading theatres. His extensive TV credits include The Bill, Heartbeat, Between the Lines and the critically acclaimed Love and Reason. “Its verbatim accounts, assembled from countless interviews with striking miners and their families, speak of an open wound which no one has troubled to heal. A packed audience received it all with rapt acclaim.” The Daily Mail on the original Young Vic production in 1985

10am – 5pm | 1.30pm matinee £5 (matinee tickets must be purchased separately) Main Auditorium

17 October

Christopher Bigsby on Arthur Miller Christopher Bigsby had a long association with Arthur Miller. Professor of American Studies at the University of East Anglia, he is also Director of the Arthur Miller Centre. His recent biography, Arthur Miller, is a huge critical success. In an event unique to the Octagon, he tells us the compelling and gripping story of the life of one of the 20th Century’s greatest playwrights. 10am – 6pm | £15 (£12 concessions) includes matinee ticket £5 morning only | Main Auditorium

24 October

All My Children Seven Jewish Children will be performed alongside an extract from All My Sons as the stimulus for an investigation into the relevance of Chris Keller’s shattering indictment: “Once and for all you can know there’s a universe of people outside and you’re responsible to it”. For a full list of speakers and their biographies please visit With the support of the Bolton Palestine Solidarity Society 2pm – 6pm | FREE – Donations to Medical Aid Gaza | Main Auditorium

14 November

Who Needs Translators? An investigation into plays in translation David Thacker, Erik Skuggevik and actors from the Ghosts company share their innovative process of translating the play. They are joined by some of the finest contemporary playwrights working today and scholars including Brid Andrews of the University of Bolton and Professor Richard Wilson. They will investigate the challenges, pitfalls and opportunities of translating Shakespeare, other classics and contemporary plays. In association with North West Playwrights. 10am – 6pm £15 (£12 concessions) includes matinee ticket £5 morning only Main Auditorium

19 December

Who Needs Socialism? 25 years ago Margaret Thatcher declared war on trade unions and socialism. Some of those involved in this epic struggle reflect on what lessons have been learned and consider whether the miners were indeed, as Margaret Thatcher called them – The Enemy Within. Visit for a full list of speakers. 10am – 6pm | £16 (£14 concessions) includes matinee ticket £5 morning only | Studio


Ch i l Th dr ea en tr ’s e

7.30pm (Saturday matinee 2pm) | £12 (£10 concessions)

10 October Booster Cushion Theatre presents

22 October M6 presents

Alan in Wonderland and the 3 Goats Plus…

One Little Word

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A non-traditional children’s comedy A magical world, with a slice of Alice in Wonderland and generous helping of goats. We need lots of helpers wearing hats and drinking tea, and someone fit enough to be a troll. In this solo show, you’ll see a puppet hare jumping, a flying fish tumbling, and a 3.5m concertina book, which doubles up as a picnic table and a bridge!

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11am and 2pm | £8 (£6 concessions)

One Little Word is specially created for young children 3+ and contains only ONE spoken word. We meet two characters who play together – exploring a new space, new objects, dressing up and taking turns – but struggles arise when one of them wants to be the ONLY Captain of the ship! A beautiful and gentle story of friendship, power struggles and creative play. 11am and 2pm | £8 (£6 concessions)

ALSO: Children over 8 will love Dancing in My Dreams. Why not bring the whole family? See above for more information.


Look out for the Oliver Twist Extravaganza Day, when our youth theatres will perform their own shows devised around the themes of Oliver Twist.

BoltON brochure  

Octagon BoltON events Sept - Dec 2009