THE story of a legendary outlaw is being given a Bolton twist this Christmas.

Robin Hood will be staged at the Octagon Theatre from Friday, November 15 to Saturday, January 11, starring Marc Small as the folk hero favourite.

As he prepares for the famous role, Marc has been getting to grips with the many guises of Robin Hood featured in centuries-old ballads and stories.

He said: “Some have it with Maid Marian in, some don’t.

“The fascinating things that you find out about him — a lot of the time, he takes people on and he doesn’t win the battle.

“He loses a battle with Little John but he wins people over with his charm.

“That’s why he’s the leader, he can convince people.”

A new adaptation of the legendary tale, written by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and directed by the Octagon’s associate director Elizabeth Newman, will see the theatre transformed into a festive hideaway, home to merriment, daring deeds and unexpected delights in a heroic quest, taking the audience on an enchanting journey through time.

Marc, who appeared at the Octagon last season in Of Mice and Men and Tull, said: “I didn’t know a lot of the background.

“Elizabeth has got about 20 books.

“I’ll be really knowledgeable by the end of the run.

“I think Robin Hood, for me, was Kevin Costner with an American accent and then there was Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

“I thought, I hope I don’t have to wear green tights!

“I didn’t get to see Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood but that seems a lot more earthy.

“What’s important is this Robin Hood is Bolton’s Robin Hood.

“We want this to be the Bolton version so you can’t get this Robin Hood anywhere else.
“It will have little Bolton references in there and the kids from Bolton.”

The Octagon will continue its tradition of having a company of young, local actors performing in the festive show, a total of 18 young people split into two sets of nine on alternate days.

Marc, who appeared in Richard II and Coriolanus at Almeida Theatre, London, and has just directed his first feature film Legacy for Universal Pictures, said: “They are such a major part of the story.

Three of those kids are the leads and I’m just in the background!

“That’s what I like about it, it’s rooted here.”

Making her Octagon debut as the feisty Maid Marian is Krupa Pattani and former Emmerdale actor Christopher Villiers, who played Captain Hook in last year’s festive production, Peter Pan, will play the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Marc, from South London who studied for a degree in media and performance at Salford University, said: “The rest of the cast, they’re so talented. I’m the only member who really can’t play an instrument and is not a great singer so I’m looking at them going, wow, they’re great actors but they’ve got all these other skills.

“I’m learning new skills like sword-fighting.

“It’s long days but exciting.”

Robin Hood, a captivating festive treat for both young and old, is at the Octagon from Friday, November 15, to Saturday, January 11. Tickets cost from £9.50 to £22.50, call 01204 520661 or visit

Today's copy of The Bolton News features exclusive Blippar content of a Robin Hood fight scene rehearsal. Download the free Blippar app to your smartphone or tablet