Octagon unveils new season with some old favourites

Published: 12 May 2024
Reporter: David Chadderton

Bolton's Octagon Theatre features a revival of a pre-COVID hit and a few other familiar titles in its 2024–5 season.

It will open 2025 with a revival of Lotte Wakeham's production of Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine, which the Octagon presented at Bolton Library over the road a month before lockdown in 2020 when the theatre was closed for refurbishment. It will again star Mina Anwar in the title role.

Brassed Off, based on the hit British film, last appeared here in 2014 in a co-production with York Theatre Royal and the Touring Consortium Theatre Company, but it returns in a new co-production in September 2024 with Theatre by the Lake in Keswick and Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, directed by TBTL's Artistic Director Liz Stevenson.

This is followed by another co-production, this time with Barn Theatre in Cirencester and Wiltshire Creative, of Marie Jones's popular Irish comedy Stones in his Pocket, a two-hander telling what happens when a Hollywood studio arrives in a rural Irish village to film its latest blockbuster, which will be directed by the playwright's son, Matthew McElhinney.

For Christmas, there will be an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book written by panto supremo Andrew Pollard and composer Ziad Jabero and directed by Sarah Punshon.

Following Shirley Valentine, the season closes with a new production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, last seen at the theatre in 2013 but this time directed by Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director of Derby Theatre.

Visiting productions include Rifco Theatre's Pali & Jay's Asian Wedding DJ Roadshow, Ad Infinitum's Beautiful Evil Things, Ordinary Glory's Joy Unspeakable and Dyad Productions' Austen's Women: Lady Susan.

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