Octagon Theatre announces winners for Creative Writing Competition

Octagon Theatre announces winners for Creative Writing Competition

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the ‘One Night In Bolton’ Writing Competition which the theatre launched to help encourage creativity in lockdown.

The competition was inspired by the Octagon’s upcoming production of One Night in Bolton by Becky Prestwich (dates to be confirmed), and called for people to write short stories, poems or monologues about real or fictional events or moments in Bolton. Open to everyone aged 11 and over the theatre have been overwhelmed with the quality of the entries.

The winning pieces have been selected by a judging panel that includes includes 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: “It has been fantastic to read all of these brilliant stories about Bolton and it has been a real challenge to select just 10 winners. I have been really impressed with the quality of the writing and the variety of styles and themes. From emotional and moving poems to funny and charming monologues, this competition has shown that Bolton is a truly inspirational town and that there is wealth of local writing talent. I’m thrilled that we’re going to be recording these winning entries, bringing them to life with a fantastic cast of professional actors. I’m confident that audiences will have a wonderful time listening to these Bolton-based stories. Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you to everyone who entered – I really hope that everyone is inspired to continue with their creative writing.”

Judge Monica Ali commented: “Reading the entries was a real pleasure. Some gave me a trip down memory lane, others were a surprise, a laugh, a moving experience - or a mix of several! The winners are all terrific, and I can’t wait to hear them voiced by actors. I can promise listeners a cornucopia of delights - all from the multi-splendid and magnificent store of local talent.“ 

Judge Becky Prestwich added: “I absolutely loved reading the entries for the One Night in Bolton competition - it was thrilling to be transported to so many rich and evocative imaginative worlds. Enormous congratulations to the winners.”

The winning entries span the decades and different areas of the town, from memories about the high and lows of nights out at the town’s clubs and pubs, favourite family meals, memorable sporting events and even a Royal visit!

Winning entries that were earlier this morning revealed on BBC Radio Manchester are:

Under 18 category winner:

  • Olympic Torch: Once in a Lifetime by James Storey

Over 18s category winners:

  • The Constance Carroll Smile by Lisa Allen
  • Roots by Linda Downs
  • Results Day by Ciaran Forrest
  • Lights Out by Bill Hodson
  • Pilgrimage to Bolton by Zoe Iqbal
  • Nowt Worth More than Sand by Ibrahim Ismail
  • The Same by Loraine Knockton
  • The Queen of Bolton Baths by Pegeen Murphy
  • Grandma’s Chippy Night by Julie Worthington

Winning writer Lisa Allen commented “I grew up in Bolton and spent all my teenage nights out in the town. I wanted a reason to start writing and this competition gave me the confidence to do so.”

Loraine Knockton commented “I like to write but I’ve never entered a competition before – this has been my very first one.”

Zoe Iqbal comments “My piece was inspired by roadtrips I used to take to Bolton for nights out when I was growing up. Everyone used to have nights out there in the late 90s – it was dead exciting!”

All of the winning stories will be performed and recorded by professional actors and released online over the summer with a selection broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester. Casting to be announced soon.