'This is Bolton's theatre' - David Thacker explains the Octagon's new season
David Thacker, pictured with the late playwright Arthur Miller, with whom he worked on a number of productions
A PREMIERE by Farnworth writer Jim Cartwright, one of the nation’s favourite plays and two to commemorate 100 years since the start of World War One will all feature in the Octagon Theatre’s new season line-up.
David Thacker, the theatre’s artistic director, yesterday revealed the eight plays which will make up the theatre’s 2014/15 season which launches on September 4.
It will begin with Journey’s End, by RC Sherriff, followed by Early One Morning, by Bolton writer Les Smith, to mark 100 years since Great Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914.
Announcing his sixth season at the Octagon, Mr Thacker said: “This is the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War.
“Britain declared war on August 4, 1914, and we are going to be devoting the autumn to a commemoration of the war and, in particular, the sacrifices that many local young men, from Bolton and the North West, made as part of that terrible war.”
At Christmas, the Octagon’s Elizabeth Newman will take over the directing mantle with the festive production of Alice in Wonderland followed by Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, directed by Mr Thacker, in the New Year.
He said: “After Christmas, another important centenary in a way, it will be the centenary year of the birth of Arthur Miller because he was born in 1915.
“I’m very committed to Arthur Miller’s work and I’ve had a very important professional relationship with him in my time and worked with him on a number of his plays.
“I was very keen the Octagon should be right at the forefront of the celebration of his birth.”
The next two plays are Stanley Houghton’s Hindle Wakes, one of the first plays to have a working class female protagonist, and Noël Coward’s 1930 three act comedy of manners Private Lives.
Next will be a world premiere of Mr Cartwright’s new play, The Ancient Secret of Youth and the Five Tibetans, and the season will be brought to a close with much-loved comedy Noises Off.
Mr Thacker said: “We have the world premiere of a new play by Jim Cartwright. We are completely thrilled, it’s quite a coup for us to be able to do a world premiere of a Jim Cartwright play. Jim is very committed to the Octagon. He has been a lot to see our work over the last year.
“He has been looking for an opportunity to write a play for us. He is writing it at the moment, it isn’t finished.
“The last play of the season, Noises Off, is one of the funniest contemporary plays ever written.
“When the English Touring Theatre did a survey about what were the nation’s greatest plays, this came in second.
“I think it’s a wonderful range of plays. The principle of what we do is to present a wide range of high quality plays.
“We are very committed to our season ticket scheme. We are the only theatre in this country that has a year round season ticket offer which consists entirely of home produced productions. This is very much Bolton’s theatre.”
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