Artistic Director, Elizabeth Newman to leave the Octagon Theatre

Artistic Director, Elizabeth Newman to leave the Octagon Theatre

After nearly a decade at the Octagon Elizabeth Newman is leaving to take up a new challenge as Artistic Director of Pitlochry Festival Theatre in Scotland.

Elizabeth inspired great change at the Octagon, creating and implementing a dynamic artistic policy that brought audiences, artists and participants together to make great work for Bolton and beyond.

During her tenure as Artistic Director, she produced award winning work, record breaking productions and conceived and delivered artistic programmes that engaged more young people, community groups and emerging artists than ever before. These programmes included National Octagon Prize, work with Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Best of Bolton, Dinner Parties, Community and Young People Productions, Open Days, REVEAL Festival, Dementia Programme, Octagon Academy, Storyplay for early years and large scale events like the Octagon Pleasure Beach, which welcomed thousands of new visitors to the theatre.

Elizabeth has won numerous awards for her work as a director. The Stage cited her production of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as one of the Best Shows of 2017 across the UK. Elizabeth’s work at the Octagon has impacted not just on theatre goers and participants but has inspired great change in Bolton. This was recognised last year when she was named Bolton’s Woman of the Year for her contribution to the town.

Elizabeth Newman comments: “It has been a great privilege to be the Artistic Director of the Octagon Theatre Bolton. I have loved every minute of my time here - making theatre with and for everyone in this brilliant town. I have worked alongside fantastic people. Every day I have been inspired by their spirit, skill and generosity. We have achieved a great deal together in recent years. I am really looking forward to returning to see how the Octagon will have grown and developed this important work. There are exciting times ahead in Bolton.”

Chair of the Octagon Theatre Board, Claire Moreland commented: “Elizabeth has served the Octagon Theatre for nearly ten years, most recently as Artistic Director. She has worked with total passion and commitment throughout, and has steered through our 50th Anniversary season with panache. Box office records have been broken under Elizabeth's directorship, and the Theatre is now poised to benefit further from its upcoming capital development program.

In particular Elizabeth is to be congratulated on implementing her vision of the Octagon being 'a Theatre for everyone', and just recently we we're awarded the status of Theatre of Sanctuary.

We all wish Elizabeth every happiness and success as she moves on to her new role.”

Chief Executive, Roddy Gauld commented: “Elizabeth has made a remarkable contribution to the Octagon.  As Associate Director she championed and led our new writing and as Artistic Director she has strived to make the Octagon as inclusive as possible for the Bolton community. 

Audiences have loved her musicals and classic adaptations, and the 50th anniversary season was a box office triumph.  Her energy and dedication have always shone through and inspired everyone who has met and worked with her.  She leaves a great legacy, having played a key role in reimagining our theatre for the future and planning our season of work out and about in Bolton. 

Everyone at the Octagon wishes her every success in her next adventure.”

Elizabeth will be in post to direct the community production of Gulliver’s Travels at Queens Park this summer and the Octagon’s Out and About season will continue as planned in locations across Bolton as the theatre undergoes a major redevelopment in 2018/19.