THE OCTAGON theatre is setting the stage for the opening of its refurbished theatre by releasing new images of how the £10 million building will look.

The theatre is set to reopen in Spring next year after a massive redevelopment at the Howell Croft South building.

The Octagon Reimagined project promises to improve the customer experience, update backstage facilities, increase accessibility and provide space for more community work.

Latest pictures of the interior include a CGI image of a new two floor cafe bar, which is part of the extensive front of house development of the building.

It includes a larger and brighter entrance and foyer on the corner of Newport Street.

The new bar and café will open early until late, serving locally produced food and drink, providing a creative and social hub for Bolton town centre.

Also pictured is a new studio, to be used by the Octagon’s thriving youth and community drama groups.

The multi-purpose space be lit with energy efficient LED lights and have a moveable lighting rig enabling easier access for teaching technical skills.

The studio will also host a program of opportunities for new writing and emerging artists to share their work with Bolton audiences.

When complete, the new Octagon will be 40 per cent bigger than the previous building and will also accommodate a classroom sized learning space, an events and conference space, offices, wardrobe facilities and wheelchair accessible dressing rooms and rehearsal


There will be a new entrance and foyer, new seats in the main auditorium, improved temperature control, and more toilets on all levels including, for the first time, a Changing Places toilet.

Theatre chief executive, Roddy Gauld, said: “It’s really exciting to see these internal images of the new Octagon.

“ After years of planning and months of construction, the new building is starting to take shape, the steel frame structure is now completed and we can’t wait to reopen and welcome visitors.

The Studio will be an exciting space filled with creativity, through our work with community and young people, and through the new plays we’ll be developing and performing.

The café bar will be open daily and we’re creating a warm and welcoming space for people to use whilst working or socialising in Bolton town centre.

“With less than a year now until the re-opening, the construction team are hard at work to make our vision a reality.”

Artistic director Lotte Wakeham, added: “As we move into the last few months of construction we are busy planning an exciting programme of events for when the building reopens in 2020.

“The opening season will include popular, bold and adventurous shows on our stages including loved classics and exciting new writing as well as events and activities to animate the whole building.

“We can’t wait to throw open our doors and welcome people in.”

Most of the funding for the project has already been secured, including cash from Bolton Council and Arts Council England, but there is an ongoing campaign to raise the final £600,000.

While the building work is taking place, the Octagon has productions taking place across Bolton. For details of the autumn season visit