Octagon gives castle to am-dram group's Camelot production

The castle which was used in the Octagon’s Christmas production of Robin Hood

Octagon stage crew member, Dave McGreavy, with Nora Howcroft, of Walmsley Church Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society

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

NO production of the Arthurian legend is complete without the castle keep — and thanks to the Octagon Theatre the staging of Camelot the musical will be simply magical.

Walmsley Church Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society is bringing the show to the stage in April — but was missing the vital backdrop.

That was until Nora Howcroft, director for the amateur dramatics society, and her husband Donny went to see the Octagon’s Christmas Production, Robin Hood, which had a castle as part of the medieval setting.

Mrs Howcroft said: “We elbowed each other and said that was the sort of castle we wanted for our production.

“The castle setting is central to the musical and we couldn’t find one.

“We asked the Octagon if we could buy it and the production manager said we could have it free if we could take it away ourselves.”

She added: “Without the help of the Octagon, we would probably have had to create our own, but because other theatre groups are using our theatre to stage productions as theirs have closed we don’t have as much time.”

The theatre group is now in the middle of assembling the large castle and rehearsals are in full swing.

Walmsley Church Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society successfully bid for another part of the Robin Hood set used to create the forest.

It bought it at a discounted price saying it would store it and loan it to the Octagon whenever they needed it.

Mrs Howcroft said: “The sets will be used by ourselves and other theatre groups in Bolton for their productions and this keeps the bond between professional and amateur theatre. The castle was heaven sent, it was meant to be.

Camelot will open at the Parish Hall Theatre, Christ Church, Walmsley, Egerton, on April 28 and run until May 3.

Oliver Seviour, head of production at the Octagon Theatre, said: “The Octagon is pleased to have been able to support the local amateur dramatics scene with a fantastic piece of set from our festive production of Robin Hood.

“The set was made by our talented construction team, and it would have been a shame to see it skipped.

“It’s great that it can be recycled by becoming the set for Camelot.

“We would like to wish them all the best for their run of their production.”

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