On Monday an 80 tonne mobile crane arrived at the Octagon Theatre Building site in preparation for steel works to begin on the major redevelopment of the town centre theatre.
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.
The crane which arrived on Monday morning signifies the next stage in the major construction project of the theatre. The demolition of sections of the existing building and the essential ground works have now been completed in order for the construction of the new sections of the building to begin.
Graham Leigh, Senior Building Manager from Wilmott Dixon Construction, comments “The 80 tonne mobile crane that has arrived marks the next exciting phase of the Octagon Project, erecting the complicated steel frame that will wrap around and extend out from the remaining existing Octagon Theatre structure. This will give a great new insight to the new shape of the building in the coming months.”
The building, set to reopen in spring 2020 will be 25% bigger than the previous building, accommodating, a purpose built studio, a brand new classroom sized learning space, new offices and backstage areas including wardrobe facilities and wheelchair accessible dressing rooms and rehearsal space. There will also be a new entrance and foyer, a two level café/bar, new seats in the main auditorium and improved temperature control.
Chief Executive of the Theatre Roddy Gauld comments “It’s really exciting to be at this next stage in construction. After years in the planning and months of groundwork and initial preparation, the steel work beginning marks the start of the new building taking shape. The construction team have done a fantastic job so far, dealing with all sorts of unexpected obstacles under the ground. It’s taken a little longer than expected, but we’re on currently track for opening in spring 2020. When we re-open, our famous auditorium will remain and be surrounded by improved facilities for customers and backstage too. This is the largest transformation of the building in our 50 year history and will place the Octagon at the heart of cultural, community and business life in Bolton for generations to come.”
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 £600,000. To find out more about the public fundraising appeal visit octagonbolton.co.uk/reimagined.
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 with the autumn 2019 productions set to be announced in May.