One year on since theatres were forced to close their doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the much loved Octagon in Bolton prepares to raise its curtains in a new chapter in its story.
The reimagined Octagon after £12 million pounds investment and two years of work has all newly updated performance spaces, brand-new participation facilities and expanded backstage facilities.
This exclusive inside reveal comes ahead of the finishing touches being made and the reopening later this year, as lockdown is eased.
Mr Gauld added: "The pandemic has hit Bolton particularly hard, and the Octagon is now ready to play a leading role in our town’s recovery and future.
"We know people are looking forward to live entertainment and I don’t think the theatre could be more needed or more capable than it is right now!"
Since theatre’s closed in March 2020 the Octagon have continued to connect with the community by moving their programme to digital online platforms.
Audiences have been able to enjoy live performances and events including a live Zoom production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; a broadcast reading of A Christmas Carol; a festive online quiz hosted by Mina Anwar and family StoryMaker’s readings.
The theatre's engagement programmes have continued with over 3000 participants taking part in workshops, youth theatre, over 50’s Theatre Club and music sessions, as well as delivering Creative Care Kits to support wellbeing for those without internet access.
Thanks to public support their Future Fund public fundraising appeal has raised £84,697.48.
Leader of Bolton Council and the Greater Manchester portfolio lead for culture, Cllr David Greenhalgh, said: "Following its redevelopment and modernisation, the Octagon will be fit for purpose for decades to come, and ready to meet people’s hunger for bold, adventurous and popular theatre."