A CELEBRATION of Bolton’s biggest stage will see theatre spilling out on to the streets next summer.

The Octagon Theatre hits its big 50th this year and to make the birthday is one of its best it is releasing an extravaganza of modern, classic and groundbreaking work.

The 50th Anniversary Season sees world premieres, the Octagon’s first ever full-scale park show, and a major new co-production.

Artistic director Elizabeth Newman said: “It feels really special, really important and really exciting. This is not just about the theatre but about Bolton.

“We are celebrating the future as well as marking the past, balancing the extraordinary the fantastic work of many incredible artists and actors over the years and looking to the future – not just this season but the years to come.

“There have been some incredible stories planned to make a joyful experience for the audience. It starts and ends on a happy not.

“We will take the audience on a journey that is going to be really heart-warming and joyful.”

It is all aboard for the start of the next season with a cast of 100 young people, alongside professional actors, for a brand new adaption of E-Nesbit’s The Railway Children this August.

Bank holiday will also bring more magic than Harry Potter when the theatre outshines Platform 9 and 3/4 by transforming into Platform 50 - promising trips to Egypt!

Main auditorium productions range from a revival of Rita, Sue and Bob Too under its original director Max Stafford-Clark in collaboration with Out of Joint and the Royal Court Theatre, epic musical drama in The Threepenny Opera and festive treats with Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

The new year begins with a new adaptation of Bronte classic Jane Eyre, followed by Shakespeare’s great tragedy Hamlet.

The mood is lightened by Ayub Khan Din’s award winning comedy East is East and a world premier of The Big Corner, adapted from Bolton’s famous playwright Bill Naughton by former Octagon artistic director Lawrence Till.

To coincide with the Octagon’s major redevelopment, the final two productions are going to be off site.

Summer Holiday will see audiences joining professional actors on a bus for a journey that will take them from Bolton’s new travel interchange, through the town centre, to the newly renovated Albert Halls

Following this, Queen’s Park will be transformed for the Octagon’s first ever full-scale park show, Gulliver’s Travels.

In between all the shows the theatre will host its second National Writing Prize with two never seen before plays Sherbet and All I See is You and a special Birthday party in November.

To help celebrate the Octagon’s links with the town posters for the season’s shows all feature in different locations around the town.

Chief executive Roddy Gauld added: “I’m looking forward to the mixture of work we have.

“Some of the stuff is really bold, like Summer Holiday and Gulliver’s Travels, or the Octagon taking a new approach to shows we already know like Hamlet and The Threepenny Opera, and there are great family shows like our Christmas Carol.

“Every production is different and each ones tells you something about the Octagon.

Season ticket holders can book tickets from May 3, and general sale from May 15.

* THE RAILWAY CHILDREN (August 17 to 19) - Edith Nesbit’s heart-warming classic is best known for its 1970s film adaption starring Bernard Cribbins and Jenny Agutter

* RITA, SUE AND BOB TOO (August 6 to September 23) - The Bradford-set comedy-drama first hit the stage in 1982 and follows the antics of two best friends who both start an affair with a married man

* THE THREEPENNY OPERA (October 12 to November 4) - As the country prepares for the coronation of King Charles III, criminals, corrupt bankers, and other opportunists are coming out of the woodwork to take advantage of the power vacuum in this darkly comic musical

* A CHRISTMAS CAROL (November 17 to January 13) - Charles Dickens’ cherished festive tale is brought to life in an enchanting stage adaptation full of song, joy, and magic!

* JANE EYRE (January 18 to February 10) - Bronte's famous Thornfield Hall comes to life as heroine Jane Eyre falls for her mysterious employer Mr Rochester

* HAMLET (February 15 to March 10) - The Danish Prince returns to Bolton after 11 years in Shakespeare's increasingly uncertain world of distrust and tragedy

* EAST IS EAST (March 15 to April 14) - The clashing cultures and drama surrounding the Salford's Khan family famously hit the big screen and the nation's heart in 1999

* THE BIG CORNER (April 19 to May 5) - This new play weaves together Naughton's stories into a heart-warming comedy following two boys growing up and 'discover the mystery and delights of girls'

* SUMMER HOLIDAY (May 31 to June 23) -A bus-based production of the 1960's musical will begin at Bolton's new transport interchange and travel the Albert Halls where Europe awaits the holiday makers

* GULLIVER'S TRAVELS (July 27 to August 25) - The Octagon's first-ever park show will see Queen's Park transformed into the lands of Jonathan's Swift's fantastical tales, featuring full cast and community choir