Construction begins on multimillion pound redevelopment of Octagon Theatre Bolton

 Construction begins on multimillion pound redevelopment of Octagon Theatre Bolton

On Monday keys were officially handed over to contractors Wilmott Dixon as construction for the major redevelopment of the Octagon Theatre begins.

The Octagon Reimagined project will set the stage for the next 50 years, transforming the building and improving customer experience, updating backstage facilities, increasing accessibility and enabling a wider reach of community work.

Chief Executive of the Theatre Roddy Gauld comments “This is a momentous day in our ambitious plans to transform the theatre. We are delighted to be working with Wilmott Dixon and to entrust them with the Octagon. At the end of the project we will have a building that is welcoming and accessible for more people to enjoy, and will provide world class facilities to ensure the future of theatre being made in Bolton. This is an exciting time in Bolton with the regeneration of the town centre and we are thrilled to be part of one of the first projects in the town’s master plan – the future is looking very bright in Bolton!” 

With the majority of the budget already secured from Bolton Council and Arts Council England along with trust and foundations, businesses and major donors there is still an ongoing fundraising campaign to raise to the final £700,000. To find out more about the public fundraising appeal visit

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Linda Thomas, GMCA lead for culture, arts and leisure, comments “We are delighted that work is now starting on redeveloping the Octagon which will further raise its and Bolton’s profile. It provides a superb arts and cultural resource for the borough and the theatre is also an important part of our masterplan to redevelop the town centre.

“The Octagon has been providing a fantastic service for 50 years, producing high calibre theatre productions and doing much-valued educational and community work. The new facilities will make it even more accessible and secure its place in the hearts of generations to come, not just with people living in Bolton but the many visitors which it attracts to our town.”

Ian Tabbron, Senior Relationship Manager, North for the Arts Council adds “The Arts Council is very pleased to be supporting the Octagon’s redevelopment. It will provide the communities of Bolton and Greater Manchester with a theatre fit for the twentieth first century and encourage many more and different people to visit and experience all that the Octagon has to offer.”

This redevelopment will be the most comprehensive in the theatre’s history, transforming the Octagon to support local communities for years to come. While the building work is taking place, the Octagon will still have productions taking place across Bolton. The theatre is set to reopen in early 2020.


Image credit: Bolton Documentary Photography.

L to R: Jake Clough (Wilmott Dixon), Tim Gee (Wilmott Dixon), Cllr Linda Thomas (Leader of Bolton Council), Claire Moreland (Octagon Theatre Chair of the Board of Trustees), Roddy Gauld (Octagon Theatre Chief Executive), Tony Oakman (Chief Exceutive of Bolton Council), Ian Tabbron (Senior Relationship Manager North, Arts Council England), Graham Leigh (Wilmott Dixon) and Ryan McGarr (Wilmott Dixon)