THE Octagon is celebrating eight nominations for prestigious theatre awards.

In its 40th anniversary season, the Bolton theatre has been nominated in seven different sections in the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards.

It is a further boost for the theatre's celebratory season, which has already seen two hit productions - the world premiere of And Did Those Feet and the current Oh What a Lovely War, for which there is a waiting list for tickets for all remaining performances.

The nominations are: l George Irving as best actor in Shining City l Becky Hindley as best actress in Lisa's Sex Strike, the co-production by the Octagon Theatre with Northern Broadsides l Jon Bauser for best design for James and the Giant Peach l Best family show, James and the Giant Peach l Best new play, And Did Those Feet l Martin Barrass for best performance in a supporting role in And Did Those Feet l Knight Mantell, also nominated for best performance in a supporting role in What the Butler Saw l And Did Those Feet for best production.

Last year's winners included Bolton-educated Sir Ian McKellen for his role in The Cut at The Lowry.

This year the Octagon will be up against nominees from Manchester's The Royal Exchange, The Lowry, Opera House and Library theatres, as well as the Oldham Coliseum.

Octagon executive director John Blackmore said: "During our buoyant anniversary season, in which we have played to record audience numbers, to receive these nominations from our peers is truly the icing on the anniversary cake."

The ceremony to honour the cream of the region's performing arts talent takes place on Wednesday, December 5, at a star-studded lunch in Manchester.