THE world premiere of a musical based on a best selling novel and a new production of playwright Bill Naughton’s most famous work bookend an exciting new season at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre

The line-up for the autumn/winter season has just been revealed and getting things off in in sensational style is the world premiere musical adaptation of Markus Zusak’s worldwide best-selling novel The Book Thief which runs from September 17 to October 15.

Written by award-winning author Jodi Picoult and Timothy Allen McDonald this hauntingly beautiful tale set in 1930s Nazi-Germany follows courageous young orphan Liesel as she enters a dangerous game of book thievery.

Featuring music and lyrics and lyrics by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson, the production will be directed by the Octagon’s artistic director Lotte Wakeham

Jodi Picoult said: “The Book Thief, as a novel, is a blockbuster that has sold over 20 million copies and deeply moved readers all over the world. Having the chance to bring it to life three-dimensionally in a world premiere musical at the Octagon is a dream for us!

“The story of a foster child in Nazi Germany — who learns the power words have to both hurt and to heal — feels painfully relevant today. We hope that Liesel’s journey will inspire audiences to take a stand in the face of adversity, and to be agents of change in ordinary ways that just might change the world.”


A Brief Encounter

A Brief Encounter


The season continue with a new adaptation of a classic - Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter which runs from October 20 to November 5, a co-production with Stephen Joseph Theatre and Theatre by the Lake.

For the festive season, the Octagon will present a joyful musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol which runs from November 17 to January 14 which will feature live music, festive fun and a good splash of magic and will be the first production directed by the theatre’s new associate director Georgia Murphy.

The season closes with Bill Naughton’s beloved Bolton classic Spring and Port Wine which runs from February 3 to March 4.


Spring and Port Wine

Spring and Port Wine


It will be the first time the play has been staged at the Octagon since 2008 when it broke box office records.

The Octagon’s artistic director, Lotte Wakeham, said: “One year on since reopening, we have loved bringing our building back to life, welcoming thousands of audience members, participants, artists and visitors through our doors and have been thrilled with the rave reviews from audiences and critics alike.

“For our autumn/winter season we are going even bigger – bringing together the best of local, national and international talent to create an electrifying programme. This will include the brand-new musical of beloved best-selling novel The Book Thief. We believe Bolton audiences deserve world class productions, and we can’t wait to share this one with you.

“We’ve been busy developing The Book Thief over the past couple of years in New York, London and Bolton, and we’re incredibly excited to be producing this world premiere production right here at the Octagon this autumn.”

As well as the main productions, the new season sees First Bite readings return with three new plays performed by actors ‘script in hand’ in the Studio.

The Octagon will also host a family festival over the August Bank Holiday with a range of free activities including craft, storytelling and music

Also in the summer, outdoor theatre company The Fabularium return with There Be Monsters which will be tour local communities at the end of July and over the October half term, the M6 Theatre Company will perform Sunflowers and Sheds in the Studio.

The season will also include a variety of one-night events including the return of the sell-out Octagon Comedy Club in the Studio once a month.

Lotte Wakeham added: “We passionately believe in providing shows and events for everyone to enjoy. We hope that audiences will have many reasons to join us for great nights out over the next few months.”

Season saver tickets go on sale today with individual show tickets going on sale on May 17.

For more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 01204 520661.