BOLTON has one of the most vibrant theatre scenes in the country continuing its proud tradition of a being known as a "theatre town".

Admittedly there is no longer a theatre on every corner of the town centre once was the case, but thanks to the amateur dramatic scenes the experience of watching many celebrated plays can be enjoyed throughout the week.

Coming to Bolton next month is Ronald Harwood's The Dresser, starring Peter Scofield, who will take the role of Sir, played by Hollywood greats including Anthony Hopkins.

Here he recalls going to the world premiere of the play at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester and his delight at starring in it at Bolton Little Theatre.

Mr Schofield, a well-known figure on Bolton's theatre scene, said: "One of the strange things about working as a professional actor ­— if you’re lucky enough to be in work! _ is that you never get the chance to go to the theatre!

"Back in 1980 I was a member of the Octagon Theatre company, counting myself fortunate to be rehearsing during the day and performing at night throughout the season ­— until, in March that year, I had a play off.

"After the run of Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Joking Apart’ in January, I didn’t appear again until ‘The Merry-Go-Round’, by DH Lawrence, in April.

"That meant free evenings! Taking a rare opportunity, I was able to go to Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre to see the world premiere of Ronald Harwood’s ‘The Dresser’.

"It was a production I remember to this day. Harwood’s striking, moving, funny and totally brilliant play, performed by the great Freddie Jones and the sensational Tom Courtenay, was one of those unforgettable nights at the theatre that come along so very rarely.

"I was young then, and thought of ever playing the un-named, monstrous but somehow magnificent ‘Sir’, the beleaguered war-time actor/manager, never crossed my mind. But now, as an actor in my sixties, and playing regularly at Bolton’s wonderful Little Theatre. It’s a privilege to play the part, to perform with a terrific company, and to be directed by Jolyon Coombs, who, in his long career in the theatre, actually worked with Ronald Harwood."

Bolton Little Theatre is putting on Ronald Harwood’s ‘The Dresser’, from Monday, April 8 to Saturday, April 13.

And in some societies drama and theatrics runs in the family.

A picture published in our popular am-dram page, which can be found in The Bolton News supplement The Buzz on Thursdays, brought back memories for New Rosemere.

The society, celebrated for its Gilbert and Sullivan productions, had a picture from its 1978 opera Princess Ida.

Katherine Seager, of New Rosemere, said: "I was pleased to see the picture of New Rosemere's 1978 production of Gilbert & Sullivan's "Princess Ida" in The Bolton News a few days ago.

"Your readers may be interested to know that Hannah Carolan, the daughter of Steven Gent, who appears in your picture as "King Gama", is still carrying on the family tradition of active involvement in New Rosemere."

Hannah recently took to the stage in the lead role of the plaintiff "Angelina" in "Trial by Jury" and directed "H.M.S.Pinafore" in The Society's 110th production, at the Parish Hall Theatre, Christ Church, Walmsley.