Decades of the Octagon 1977-87

Decades of the Octagon 1977-87

We're celebrating 50 years of the Octagon! Our second 'Decades' blog travels through 1977 to 1987...

Our Second decade

As we moved from the 1970's to the 1980's, we dabbled in some colour photography, saw Shakespeare seasons, and had a whole range of new and interesting costumes!  

"I must speak in passion"

- The History of Henry the Fourth, William Shakespeare

This decade was definitely our Shakespeare decade, with 22 out of the 39 Shakespeare productions that we've ever done taking place between 1977 - 1987

Wilfred Harrison directed and starred in many of the productions and, in 1980, we celebrated our 5th Shakespeare anniversary!


Shakespeare wasn't the only drama to bring the Octagon's auditorium to life. There were many comedies, festive productions, and plays that audiences could enjoy. 

"I spent the best time of my theatre life at the Octagon. It’s the most superb theatre space in the world. It allows the director to have a new theatre for every production"

- John Adams, Artistic Director 1984 - 1987


We ended 1987 with a new beginning as Andrew Hay became Artistic Director of the Octagon! 

"I am very proud to have been amongst that throng. Every town should have a Bolton Octagon!” 

Andy Hay, Artistic Director 1987 – 1991