Bolton's Octagon Theatre is to host the town's first comedy festival this summer.

More than 20 comedians including Dara O'Briain, Dylan Moran and Emmanuel Sonubi will be performing during the three-day event which runs from Friday, July 12 to Sunday, July 14.

The Bolton News: Dara O'Briain

The packed programme will include daily headline performances in the Octagon’s main theatre, a series of work in progress shows in the intimate studio space and live podcast recordings with special guests. It's a great opportunity for comedy fans to get up close and personal with some of the biggest names in stand up.

Chief Executive Roddy Gauld said: “Bolton has a reputation for funny people! With names such as Peter Kay, Diane Morgan, Sophie Willan, Paddy McGuinness, Stu Francis, Hylda Baker and so many more hailing from our town, we felt it was time that Bolton had its own comedy festival, to celebrate our famous sense of humour and comedy heritage.

“The response we had for our Peter Kay shows at the Octagon last year was phenomenal and audiences loved seeing a comedy genius up-close - the atmosphere felt electric!

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"So, this new comedy festival is great opportunity to come together and enjoy fresh new material from some of the biggest names in stand-up, as well as chance to discover someone new.

"The Octagon is known for its intimate, friendly environment and for just three days it’ll be home to the funniest people in Britain.”

The Friday night headliner will be Mock and Week and Stargazing Live host Dara O'Briain with Live at the Apollo regular Emmanuel Sonubi on the Saturday night.

The Bolton News: Dylan Moran

Dylan Moran, who starred in co-wrote the Channel 4 comedy Black Books will round off the festival in style on the Sunday night.

The festival will also feature Irish comedian, writer and actor Catherine Bohart bringing her new show And Now With Feelings to the Octagon on the Sunday afternoon.

Bolton’s own Jenny Ryan – better known as the dream-crushing brainbox The Vixen on the hit ITV quiz The Chase – will be making an appearance alongside Lucy Porter with a live podcast recording of their popular podcast Fingers on Buzzers – perfect for any quiz show fans or pub quiz fanatics!

And Bolton comedian Justin Moorhouse will return to the Octagon after sell-out shows in 2023 with some brand new material.

He said: “Bolton has significantly contributed to my comedy career. Not only did it provide me with the incredible opportunity to join Peter Kay in Phoenix Nights and the various chances that followed, but some of my most cherished on-stage moments have taken place in the town.

"With Bolton being known as one of Britain's most fun-filled towns, it is only fitting that a comedy festival be held there.”

For the full line-up visit

Tickets go on general sale at 9am tomorrow (Thursday, March 28)