Octagon announces spring and summer 2024 season

Published: 25 November 2023
Reporter: David Chadderton

The Octagon 2024 season

The Bolton theatre will present a literary classic, a rock ‘n’ roll musical, a new play, a northern classic, a fast-paced comedy and a musical adaptation.

The season begins in March with a new adaptation of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey in a co-production with Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough and Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, written by Zoe Cooper and directed by Tessa Walker. The following month, Houdini's Greatest Escape is described as a "39 Steps-esque thriller" from theatre company New Old Friends in association with Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, promising physical comedy and magic illusions.

The John Godber Company also comes to Bolton in April with the latest incarnation of Godber's own most enduring play, Bouncers, followed by Artistic Director Lotte Wakeham's production of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's musical Little Shop of Horrors, in another co-production with New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, Theatre by the Lake and Hull Truck Theatre.

Testmatch by Kate Atwell, directed by Diane Page and co-produced with Orange Tree Theatre and English Touring Theatre, is set in both the present day at the Women's Cricket World Cup and early 19th-century India. Another comedy rewriting of classic literature will follow this with Dracula: The Bloody Truth by physical theatre company Le Navet Bete and John Nicolson, directed by Stephen Joseph Theatre Artistic Director Paul Robinson, which retells Stoker's story from Van Helsing's point of view.

The season will close with an adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm written by Ian Woolridge and directed by Iqbal Khan. Next year's Christmas show has also been announced to be The Jungle Book, a new musical version of Rudyard Kipling's novel by Andrew Pollard and Ziad Jabero.

Other visiting performance include Barrie Rutter's Shakespeare Royals from the founder of Northern Broadsides featuring anecdotes from his career playing Shakespeare's kings and Seamus Carey's comedy Help! I Think I'm a Nationalist, while for children, there will be a new adaptation of Eric Hill's Spot's Birthday Party as well as Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's The Gruffalo.

Tickets are now on general sale for all shows.

    Related listings

  • Northanger Abbey - Zoe Cooper, from the novel by Jane Austen (Orange Tree Theatre and Octagon Theatre Bolton, Stephen Joseph Theatre and Theatre by the Lake)
  • Houdini ‘s Greatest Escape (New Old Friends)
  • Bouncers - John Godber (John Godber Company)
  • Little Shop of Horrors - Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken (Theatre by the Lake, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Hull Truck Theatre and New Wolsey Theatre)
  • Testmatch - Kate Attwell (Orange Tree Theatre with ETT and Octagon Theatre Bolton)
  • Dracula: The Bloody Truth - Le Nevet Bete & John Nicolson (Octagon Theatre Bolton & Stephen Joseph Theatre Co)
  • Animal Farm - George Orwell, adapted by Ian Wooldridge (Octagon Theatre Bolton, Derby Theatre & Hull Truck Theatre)
  • The Jungle Book - Based on the book by Rudyard Kipling, adapted By Andrew Pollard, music By Ziad Jabero (Octagon Theatre Bolton)
  • Barrie Rutter's Shakespeare's Royals
  • Spot’s Birthday Party - Words and songs by Guy Unsworth, based on the books by Eric Hill (Sam Bradshaw Productions)
  • The Gruffalo - Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (Tall Stories)

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