AN exciting new season has been unveiled at the Octagon by its new artistic director, David Thacker.

He said the Octagon was “as good as it gets” in terms of theatre spaces and he wanted to provide the people of Bolton and the North West with the “greatest range of plays” he possibly could.

The new season begins on September 10 with the world premiere of Mixed Up North, a tale of a theatre group hoping to unite divided racial communities in the Lancashire mill town of Burnley.

Then in October, Mr Thacker will make his directorial debut at the theatre with Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. Mr Thacker is widely regarded as one of the leading Miller directors around and had a close working relationship with the American playwright.

He will follow it with Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts, which was widely regarded as shockingly indecent when it was first performed, and was described by one English critic as “a dirty deed done in public”.

A new version of Oliver Twist, a magical Midsummer Night’s Dream, the return of the well-loved And Did Those Feet, the “intelligent and daring” Comedians and Ayub Khan-Din’s Rafta Rafta take the theatre through to June, 2010, when the Octagon will continue its tradition of producing top-class musicals with Melvyn Bragg’s The Hired Man.

Mr Thacker said: “Selecting a season of plays is like being on Desert Island Discs. They are nine plays that I passionately believe in without exception.”

The introduction to the new season brochure was written by the actor Patrick Stewart, who described the choice of plays as “exhilarating”.

He said: “I applaud the Octagon for its imagination and ambition in inviting David Thacker to be artistic director.”