New writing

Photo credit – Ray Jefferson, Bolton Camera Club
Photo credit – Ray Jefferson, Bolton Camera Club

We are passionate about telling stories at the Octagon and at the beginning of many of the greatest stories is a piece of paper, a pen and, most importantly of all, a writer.

Theatres need new work to thrive and grow, and we believe that participating in writing has the power to enrich and change lives for the better. We develop talent across all levels of writing, from our proud tradition of commissioning new work in our main auditorium to encouraging local novice writers to share their scripts for the very first time.

National Octagon Prize

First Words 2017: Blue, Being Amazing, Nobody Can Never Get Us Back
First Words 2017: Blue, Being Amazing, Nobody Can Never Get Us Back

The Octagon National Prize is a competition celebrating new and original writing for the stage.

Every year we ask for submissions from writers with any level of experience. The submissions are then reviewed by an esteemed panel of judges and the winning submissions will be performed in the Octagon Studio by professional actors. 


For the inaugural year of the prize we asked writers to submit monologues of any genre. From hundreds of entries from across the globe we selected 3 winning monologues that were performed in our studio in July 2017. 


For the second year, in celebration of the Octagon producing one of the most famous duologues in the theatrical canon Jim Cartwright’s TWO, entrants this year were invited to submit duologues. 

Selected from hundreds of submissions we have selected two new powerful plays will be performed for the first time in our studio for our 50th anniversary season.

First Words 2018

Fri 2 Mar - Sat 10 Mar 2018


Fri 6 Apr - Sat 14 Apr 2018

All I See is You

Best of Bolton

Best of Bolton 2017
Best of Bolton 2017

The Octagon is passionate about developing new writing. Every year we run a competition called Best of Bolton, that celebrates outstanding original work by writers of all different ages, backgrounds and and experiences.

Each year we ask for submissions of poetry, prose, short plays and a selection of the best are performed on stage by professional actors script in hand in a celebration of Bolton's contemporary community and power of the spoken word.