STAR of the critically acclaimed drama Years and Years Ruth Madeley will be recounting people's memories of Bolton in a series of monologues to be aired next week.

The Octagon ran a writing competition inspired by the play One Night in Bolton, which was due to be the opening performance at the theatre, following its transformation. Coronavirus has forced the production to be delayed.

So until the theatre can once again raise the curtain, the Octagon has brought together a cast of actors from the Bolton and Greater Manchester area to perform the winning pieces online and on BBC Radio Manchester.

The Bolton News:

(L-R Daon Broni, Shaban Dar, Ruth Madeley, Claire Moore, Karla Marie Sweet)

They include Bolton actor Ruth, a BAFTA nominee, who will be performing The Queen of Bolton Baths by Pegeen Murphy which depicts how a young girl's imagination runs wild the day the Queen visits Bolton. Madeley will also be performing Results Day by Ciaran Forrest, a poem exploring the events of the night after a teenager’s exam results are announced.

Other cast members include Bolton born musical theatre legend Claire Moore.

The stories range from Bolton Wanderers last match at Burnden Park to in search of a good night out in Bolton, and when the Olympic torch came to town.

Zoe Iqbal, who wrote Pilgrimage to Bolton, said: “My piece was inspired by roadtrips I used to take to Bolton for nights out when I was growing up. Everyone used to have nights out there in the late 90s – it was dead exciting!”

Artistic Director Lotte Wakeham said: “I am absolutely thrilled with the incredible cast of local actors that we have brought together for these monologues. The writing competition shone a light on some amazing local writing talent and I cannot wait to work with the cast to bring the stories to life and then share them with audiences over the coming weeks. The pieces are incredibly moving, charming and funny, and I am sure audiences will really enjoy listening to these fantastic and varied tales about our brilliant town. Lockdown has been an extremely challenging time for many of us and I hope this competition and the sharing of these stories will inspire creativity and bring joy to the people of Bolton and beyond.”

The winning entries will be released daily online on the Octagon’s website and social media channels from Monday.

The Bolton News:


Under 18 category winner:

Olympic Torch: Once in a Lifetime by James Storey - read by Shaban Dar

A charming account of a family gathering in Bolton to watch the Olympic Torch in 2012.

Over 18s category winners:

The Constance Carroll Smile by Lisa Allen - read by Claire Moore

A poem that looks back on the highs and lows of a night on the town in the 1980s.

Roots by Linda Downs - read by Shaban Dar

A monologue about a family from Pakistan making their new home in Bolton.

Results Day by Ciaran Forrest - read by Ruth Madeley

A poem exploring the events of the night after a teenager’s exam results are announced.

Lights Out by Bill Hodson - read by Daon Broni

A football-themed monologue reminiscing about the Bolton Wanderers’ final game at Burnden Park.

Pilgrimage to Bolton by Zoe Iqbal - read by Karla Marie Sweet

A tale of a group of teenage friends who venture into Bolton in search of a good night out

Nowt Worth More than Sand by Ibrahim Ismail - read by Daon Broni

A moving story of how a young boy learns about the true value of his family's belongings.

The Same by Loraine Knockton - read by Karla Marie Sweet

The story of a woman who takes a leap of faith and explores her true feelings.

The Queen of Bolton Baths by Pegeen Murphy - read by Ruth Madeley

Grandma’s Chippy Night by Julie Worthington -read by Claire Moore

A charming tale of childhood memories of the importance of food, family and coming together.