EXCITEMENT is building as the stars of Bolton’s amateur theatre scene prepare to pick up their awards at an annual ceremony.

More than 200 people will watch as accolades are handed out at the Bolton Amateur Theatre Society (BATS) Awards at the Last Drop Village, Bromley Cross, tomorrow night.

The Octagon Theatre’s artistic director, David Thacker, will join BATS chairman Paul Cohen to hand out the awards in 14 categories including Best Drama, Best Comedy and Best Newcomer.

Mr Cohen said: “There’s a feeling of excitement, people are wondering what’s going to happen.

“It’s only once a year when people see each other and catch up.

“It’s difficult choosing the winners. It really has been a high standard, there’s so many to choose from.

“Each one, we could have given out two or three winners.”

A team of reviewers, from The Bolton News and BATS, watched a host of shows — from comedies to dramas, pantomimes to operettas and musicals to thrillers — throughout the 2013/14 season which kicked off last September.

There are four nominees and one winner for each category and the others are Best Actor in a Drama, Best Actress in a Drama, Best Actor in a Comedy, Best Actress in Comedy, Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, Best Pantomime, Best Youth Production, Best Choreography and Best Set and Costume Design.

Mr Thacker, the new patron of BATS, added: “I am honoured and delighted that BATS has invited me to become its patron.

“Since I came to Bolton I’ve been staggered by the number of people involved in amateur theatre, here.

“Last year alone there were about 70 productions involving up to 700 people.

“I can’t believe there’s anywhere in the country that can boast such a deep commitment to making theatre, and I’m particularly pleased to accept BATS’ invitation due to the strong ties that have developed between the Octagon and the many local amateur theatre groups over the past 12 months.

"It will be a great opportunity for us all to celebrate the achievements of all those who have shown such commitment over the last year, and a wonderful opportunity for me to meet BATS members.”

  • See The Bolton News website on Friday night to see who won.