ACCLAIMED actor Maxine Peake has spoken of her excitement her critically acclaimed debut play will be performed in her hometown.

Beryl, the inspirational story of the unsung sporting hero Beryl Burton, opens the Octagon Theatre's autumn 2019 season.

The play tells the story of the British cyclist who dominated cycle racing in the 1950s-60s winning numerous national titles, becoming world champion seven times and breaking multiple world records.

The play, first commissioned in 2014, for the start of the Tour de France in Leeds, has received critical acclaim and sell out success.

And in 2019 will be brought life in the intimate setting of Bolton Library Theatre as the Octagon’s town centre building undergoes a major redevelopment.

Award-winning actor and writer Maxine has had a relationship with the Octagon from being a former Youth Theatre member to making her professional stage debut in Early One Morning in 1998.

Since then the former Westhoughton High School pupil has made several award-winning appearances on the stage and TV.

She said: “I am very excited that Beryl will be riding into my home town of Bolton and into the theatre that gave me both my first taste of live theatre and my first Professional theatre engagement.

"Like a well-oiled bicycle wheel things have come full circle.”

From humble beginnings Beryl strived to become the greatest woman on two wheels.

After falling ill during her 11+ exam, Beryl is told she won’t amount to anything so she sets out to prove everyone wrong. Fast-forward several years, and a blossoming workplace romance with charismatic amateur cyclist Charlie Burton leads Beryl to find true love ­— not only with Charlie but with the thrill and freedom of being on two wheels.

A talented cast of four will bring to life this extraordinary true story including former Coronation Street Vicky Binns, from Tottington,who will be making a welcome return to an Octagon stage along with three actors who will be making their Octagon debut; Matthew Heywood, Chris Jack and Flora Spencer-Longhurst.

Kimberley Sykes, a regular Director for the RSC, returns to Bolton Octagon after beginning her career as assistant director ten years ago, said: “A joyful play, Beryl celebrates the extremes of human endurance and determination, working class values and community spirit. When first reading Maxine’s script I was moved by Beryl’s incredible story and I am honoured to be celebrating the life of this formidable working class Yorkshire woman who didn’t take no for an answer. I am thrilled with the brilliant cast I will be working with on the production, it’s going to be fast-paced and energetic and I can’t wait to start rehearsals! I hope audiences will delight in our playful and honest production where everyday objects will transform into epic images, the imagination will be unleashed and audiences encouraged to rally with us. Most of all, it’s going to be a good northern night out!”

Beryl will be playing at the Library Theatre, Bolton between Thursday, September 19 to – Saturday, October 19. Visit for more information.