AUDIENCES are to be given a unique opportunity to see at first hand how a new show comes together at a week-long festival at Bolton Octagon.

First Bites, which begins on Monday, will feature performances of various works in progress which have been supported by the theatre.

“This week is an expansion of previous First Bite events that we have held,” said the Octagon’s associate director Georgia Murphy. “In the past we held readings from hand of new work which were performed in front of an audience and we then asked for feedback on.

“This week-long festival is taking that a step further, so there is very much a performance element to all the shows even though they are still at the developmental stage.

“For the writers it is so helpful to be able to try them out in front of an audience, test out the reaction and then use that to further develop the work.”

Georgia has been mentoring the writers for the past six months covering every aspect of bringing a new work to the stage.

“The whole thing is to get feedback so that we can progress the works further. Obviously the hope is that every work will go on to become a full production which may go on tour or can be staged at specific venues.

“For the audience First Bites is like being invited into the rehearsal room halfway through. Every show has to start somewhere and you never know which one will be the next one to suddenly take off.

“We tell everyone just dream big because you never know what might happen.”

First Bite begins with two days of performances aimed at family audiences on Monday and Tuesday; on Wednesday Just Stories will feature the art of storytelling featuring a wide range of storytellers of all backgrounds from around Bolton; Thursday is Scratch, a night of new writing featuring short extracts created by up-and-coming theatre-maker and Friday and Saturday showcases Long Strong Hair by Monica Sagar.

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