Bolton's Octagon has put out a call out for people to fill a vital role.

The costume department needs more volunteers 

In 2023, the 56-year-old theatre put out an appeal for volunteers to join the team to assist with ‘simple sewing jobs’ and cataloguing their wardrobe store.

Since then, the volunteers have donated their time every week, helping the team to sew labels into garments from more than 20,000 items in the theatre’s store.

So far, more than 3,300 labels have been sewn – with volunteers meeting most weeks on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon, from 2pm to 5pm.

The volunteers also helped with the Octagon’s costume sale in July 2023, which raised £2,696.80.

A year later, the venue is now sharing the experiences of current volunteers – and appealing for more to join the fray.

Those interested in volunteering can contact

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Volunteer Sue Charlton said: “It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon, and I’m never happier than when I’ve got a needle in my hand.

“I love sewing and fabrics and I love being with people who enjoy the same things and I’ve loved the company.

“We’ve got to see some fantastic costumes, it’s lovely to see clothes from through the ages. It’s good fun, we have a laugh, so I’d definitely say to anyone to come along.”

Volunteer Tracey Hayes commented: “I’ve always enjoyed coming to the Octagon and I was looking for something creative to do and heard about this opportunity.

“It is lovely being amongst this group of people, we’re all friendly, and we get to tell lots of stories, we have fun - and the staff take really good care of us with biscuits and cups of tea.

“It’s fascinating hearing stories as well about the theatre and we’ve had the opportunity to see dress rehearsals, and it is interesting to see how much work goes into a production.

“I think people of all ages would really benefit from this opportunity and would encourage anyone interested in theatre and sewing to come along.”

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Su Newell, Wardrobe Manager at the Octagon added: “We are so thankful to our wonderful team of volunteers who have been working with us over the last 12 months, it is a joy to welcome them every week.

“It was a very daunting process when we first approached the challenge of cataloguing every item in our store, and we simply could not have accomplished what we have so far without all their hard work, they are an invaluable part of our team.

“We do have spaces available for people to join and would encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved to get in touch.” 

Those looking to join need to have good basic sewing skills. Equipment is provided, alongside free refreshments.

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