Decades of the Octagon 1987 - 1997

Decades of the Octagon 1987 - 1997

As we continue to celebrate 50 years of The Octagon, our third 'Decades' blog travels through 1987 to 1997.


During this decade the Octagon began its longstanding relationship with writer Jim Cartwright, whose award-winning, first play Road was commissioned and directed by Artistic Director Andy Hay and presented at the Octagon in 1988.

It’s a testament to those visionaries in Bolton in 1967 that the Octagon is now celebrating 50 year’s as a vital creative hub for the town and region - just think in that time of all the hearts and minds and voices that have left their echo in its walls and all those people who have had the chance to engage individually or collectively with the performing arts - I am very proud to have been amongst that throng. Every town should have a Bolton Octagon!

Andy Hay (Artistic Director 1987 – 1991)

The success of Road was followed swiftly by a celebrated production of Two which had its world premiere at the Octagon in September 1989. Sue Johnston and John McCardle played the bickering husband and wife as well as the cast of regulars who passed through their pub of an evening.

Two was so successful it was revived again in October 1990. It has now been revived four times at the Octagon.

Throughout the decade the Octagon continued its relationship with Jim Cartwight and presented no less than three more of his plays, including Baths and Bed, Eight Miles High and the hugely popular The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.

Over the course of the decade the Octagon celebrated its Silver Anniversary and presented a total of 104 plays across the ten years. 

During this decade, the Octagon was also led by Artistic Director Lawrence Till, one the longest serving Artistic Directors at the Octagon.

The Octagon Theatre celebrates fifty years of great playmaking. It has always encouraged the risk taking alongside the more familiar. And audiences have delighted in new plays as well as reinvented classics. I worked with a fantastic and committed staff and highly creative individuals who all worked tirelessly to make the best theatre for the people of Bolton. The Octagon continues to be one of the most engaging, dynamic and exciting places to visit. It offers opportunities for young people and community groups to become engaged and has touched the lives of so many people.

Lawrence Till (Artistic Director 1991-1999)