Gala event to celebrate end of three-year Bruntwood Academy project

The participants at the Bruntwood Academy gala event

The participants at the Bruntwood Academy gala event

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , Entertainment reporter

THE final curtain has come down on a three-year theatre project for young people in Bolton.

The Bruntwood Academy gave 13 to 19-year-olds the chance to create new pieces of theatre which were then performed and toured across the region.

The final year of the project, sponsored by property company Bruntwood and run by the Octagon Theatre and Bolton Lads and Girls Club, was celebrated at a gala event.

Michael Oglesby, chairman of Bruntwood, said: “It’s been fantastic to see the participants grow with The Bruntwood Academy, which has given them experience in the arts and has also challenged and developed their life skills which will help them in their future careers.”

A total of 42 teenagers took part in the recent phase, who were split into two groups — Generate and The Company.

Generate was a six-month playwright scheme, led by the Octagon’s associate director and head of new writing, Elizabeth Newman.

The group generated new material by learning how to structure a play, write dialogue, create storylines and plots, as well as find inspiration for new work.

The final piece of writing was then performed by The Company, a cast who worked with both Generate and the Octagon’s participation manager, Jennifer Riding, to bring the script to life on stage.

She said: “Each week, the youngsters have been inspired, challenged and empowered, and together they’ve achieved a brilliant piece of touring theatre which has been shared with their peers in schools and community venues across Bolton."

The final production was entitled The Descendants and was taken on tour to eight venues across Bolton and Greater Manchester.

For more information about the Octagon’s learning and participation work, contact Helen Barnes on 01204 556501 or email

If you are interested in participating in one of the theatre’s youth projects, visit


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