This summer we are thrilled to release audio recordings of 10 captivating monologues - the winners of the One Night In Bolton creative writing competition.
The competition invited entries on the theme of ‘One Night In Bolton’ inspired by the play which was due to be the opening performance at the theatre as it reopened after 2 years of construction. Due to the impact of Covid-19 the reopening of the theatre has been delayed and instead the Octagon helped inspire creativity in lockdown with a creative writing competition.
The monologues will be performed by a talented group of Bolton and Greater Manchester actors with the recordings released online over the summer and a selection broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester.
The exciting cast includes Bolton actor and BAFTA nominee Ruth Madeley, known for her role in the BBC’s critically acclaimed drama Years and Years. Ruth will be performing The Queen of Bolton Baths by Pegeen Murphy which depicts how a young girl's imagination runs wild the day the Queen visits Bolton. Madeley will also be performing Results Day by Ciaran Forrest, a poem exploring the events of the night after a teenager’s exam results are announced.
Lights Out by Bill Hodson will be voiced by Manchester actor Daon Broni (Women Beware Women, Shakespeare’s Globe, Macbeth, Royal Exchange Theatre) - a football-themed monologue reminiscing about the Bolton Wanderers’ final game at Burnden Park. Daon will also be performing Nowt Worth More than Sand by Ibrahim Ismail, a moving story of how a young boy learns about the true value of his family's belongings.
Local actor Shaban Dar (The Last Quiz Night On Earth, Box of Tricks, I Believe in Unicorns, Theatre Alibi) will be voicing Olympic Torch: Once in a Lifetime by our under 18 category winner James Storey, a funny and charming account of a family gathering in Bolton to watch the Olympic Torch in 2012. Shaban will also be performing Roots by Linda Downs, a monologue about a family from Pakistan making their new home in Bolton.
Bolton born musical theatre legend Claire Moore who has starred in West End shows such as Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, Follies and Les Miserables will be making her Octagon debut performing Grandma’s Chippy Night by Julie Worthington, a charming tale of childhood memories of the importance of food, family and coming together. Claire will also be voicing The Constance Carroll Smile by Lisa Allen, a poem that looks back on the highs and lows of a night on the town in the 1980s.
To complete the cast is local actor Karla Marie Sweet (Nuts, Southwark Playhouse, Leaving, The Bunker) who will perform Pilgrimage to Bolton by Zoe Iqbal, a tale of a group of teenage friends who venture into Bolton in search of a good night out. Karla will also be bringing to life The Same by Loraine Knockton, the story of a woman who takes a leap of faith and explores her true feelings.
The winning writers were announced live on BBC Radio Manchester last month and were selected by a judging panel that included the Octagon’s Artistic Director Lotte Wakeham, writer Becky Prestwich (whose credits include One Night in Bolton for the Octagon, and Holby City and Doctors for the BBC), BBC Radio Manchester presenter Becky Want, best-selling novelist Monica Ali (Brick Lane, Alenjejo Blue, In the Kitchen, Untold Story) and actor/writer Ralf Little (The Royle Family, Two Pints of Larger and Packet of Crisps).
Artistic Director Lotte Wakeham comments “I am absolutely thrilled with the incredible cast of local actors that we have brought together for these monologues. The writing competition shone a light on some amazing local writing talent and I cannot wait to work with the cast to bring the stories to life and then share them with audiences over the coming weeks. The pieces are incredibly moving, charming and funny, and I am sure audiences will really enjoy listening to these fantastic and varied tales about our brilliant town. Lockdown has been an extremely challenging time for many of us and I hope this competition and the sharing of these stories will inspire creativity and bring joy to the people of Bolton and beyond.”
The theatre, which is a registered charity, is currently working remotely with a range of online activities and opportunities for audiences to get involved with. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic delaying the opening of the theatre, the Octagon faces one of its biggest challenges in its history and has recently launched a fundraising appeal to support the theatre through this difficult time. Donate online here.
The winning entries will be released online over the summer on the Octagon’s website and social media channels from Mon 3 August - find out more.