THE Octagon theatre is hoping for a Christmas miracle ­— as the planned launch of the revamped venue is put on hold by the coronavirus crisis.

The theatre ­has shelved its summer productions ­­and is now looking to the festive period for the grand re-opening.

Bosses believe the charity is set to miss out on £500,000 in takings due to the coronavirus crisis ­— and are calling on the people of Bolton to "stand by them in this difficult time".

In return they say the Octagon will deliver on its promise to help regenerate Bolton's economy once the lockdown is over.

The first production will now be a world premiere adaptation of A Christmas Carol ­— billed as "the perfect show to bring the Bolton community back together" after the coronavirus crisis.

Chief executive Roddy Gauld said: “The covid-19 pandemic has inevitably hit our plans to re-open this summer and public safety must come first.

"We believe our first production will now be A Christmas Carol, and I can’t think of a more fitting and compassionate feel good story to tell in this unprecedented year.

"I want to reassure people, we may be later than originally planned, but we will be back.

"And once the lockdown is over, I hope people will look forward to a fantastic night out at the Octagon again.

"Everyone has a part to play in our society right now. Our role, as a charitable theatre, is to look forward and ensure that when this current crisis has passed that our cultural and social lives can recover and that we deliver on our contribution to regenerating Bolton’s economy.”

Hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors has been moved to next year while Marvellous has been cancelled.

Tickets for the remaining shows in the new season are still on-sale and the theatre says it has made its exchange policy even more flexible so customers can book in advance with confidence.

Previously announced opening weekend celebrations planned for July, including One Night in Bolton, will be re-scheduled with dates to be announced soon.

Other events and one-night shows due to take place before December will be re-scheduled for 2021 where possible.

The Octagon will contact ticket holders of affected performances directly, to offer revised dates, provide a refund or details on how to donate the ticket cost to support the venue, which is a registered charity.

Artistic director Lotte Wakeham added: “We understand that this delay may come as a disappointment to our audiences but it was a decision that was unavoidable due to the covid-19 pandemic.

"However, I believe the planned opening production of A Christmas Carol will be the perfect show to bring the community together, and celebrate the message of generosity and goodwill to all."

Head of development Danielle Fearnley said: “We are finding new ways to continue supporting our audiences and community at this difficult time, and are doing all we can to reach out to as many as possible.

"In return we ask that you stand by us as we face this significant challenge, and help us continue planning the exciting next chapter for the Octagon.

"As a registered charity, we need your support now more than ever. We ask that if people are in a position to help fund our future, please make a donation, join our membership scheme, become a Patron or support now in any way you can.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so on the Octagon website at: or by calling the Box Office on 01204 520661.

A Christmas Carol is scheduled to open from Thursday, November 19.

For more information or to book tickets visit or call the Box Office on

01204 520661.