A Week at the Octagon

A Week at the Octagon

A week at the Octagon as told by work experience students Phoebe and Reece

Hi! I’m Reece, I’m 17 – and currently studying Dance, Drama and English Language at a college in Rossendale. As my passion is drama and performance there was only one place to complete my work experience - the Octagon Theatre!

When I visited they had just finished their production of Summer Holiday and were preparing to close the beloved theatre for refurbishment. This meant it was a slightly different, but still amazing, week at the Octagon Theatre.

We began on Monday by sitting in on the Bridges Company which is a class for adults with learning difficulties. It was an amazing experience to watch the development of their piece which was about happiness and creating your own happy endings. I was surprised about how quickly I was accepted into the group and could begin helping everyone out with their lines.

Another class that we took part in was the Women’s Group. The Women’s Group is for refugees and asylum seekers, and celebrates diversity. In this class we explored a poem about Noah’s Ark and the story of the lone unicorn which was wonderfully told through instruments and manipulation of the voice.

On Thursday we discovered all about the social media and digital side of the Octagon theatre, we went out into Bolton making Instagram stories to promote the next production Gulliver’s Travels and this was so much fun.

We also helped with the process of moving out of the building. We moved many things from the Octagon over to its new home at Market Place and this was actually enjoyable because of the amazing weather.

I learnt so much at the Octagon from how to teach all ranges and abilities - to the insides and workings of the theatre. It really shocked me how such a small company puts on so many productions at the amazing quality and standard they are produced.

From this week I have learnt that team work always has a larger impact than attempting to complete a task yourself. I have had an amazing week at the Octagon, one I will not forget in a long time.      

I’m Phoebe, I’m 15 years old and I’m currently in Year 10. I chose the Octagon theatre for my work experience to see the design and creative side of theatre, alongside their work within the community. I was lucky to be able to have seen Summer Holiday on the opening night; the energy was electric and the actors really connected with the audience. After seeing this, I’m sure Gulliver’s Travels (their next production) will also be incredible.

We have done so many interesting things in our week here. We got an exclusive look at the Gulliver’s Travels script which is full of surprises and many laughs, book your tickets as it will be a unique experience in Queens Park with an 8m tall puppet! It starts on Thursday 16th August.

We also got a sneak peek at two different rehearsals this week. On Monday we saw Bridges Company rehearse their play, which had a brilliant concept and was very different to anything we’ve seen before. Also, we were fortunate enough to see the Women’s Group performing an amazing poem with percussion that captivated us. Both groups we incredible and we wish them the best of luck for their shows in the next couple of weeks.

We were also given the task of writing a story for Friday’s Little Bridges class, which is for children from the ages of 8-11. The stories are always very visual with puppets, teddies and pictures. We really enjoyed being creative and coming up with a story they will hopefully find engaging and enjoyable. For more information on these classes go to this website: https://octagonbolton.co.uk/get-involved/

I found the amount of work of the theatre does with the community surprising, because I didn’t realise how much they do helping others. Even though this week has been a bit crazy moving things from the building and to their new space at the market place, the energy of everyone is so positive and upbeat and it has been so welcoming.

I have learnt the importance of drama and the impact it has on people’s lives, as well as how much it can help people in all situations. I have also learnt different skills for advertising events on social media and specific audiences for different kinds of social media. We wrote Twitter and Facebook posts, as well as doing a mini Instagram take over.

The knowledge and skills I have acquired can be adapted to any job I get in the future. Also the experience has helped me learn what life will be like in a job.

This has been an amazing and memorable experience and I’m truly grateful for the opportunity. Thank you to all the staff at the Octagon, who helped and encouraged us. I wish you all the best with future productions and work at the Octagon.