News Story

We are thrilled to reveal our sensational programme set to entertain audiences this autumn and into 2025.

The impressive line-up boasts a classic northern comedy-drama, an award-winning dark comedy, immersive comedy from critically acclaimed South Asian theatre company, a musical adaptation of a beloved family adventure, Mina Anwar who reprises an acclaimed role, and a gripping classic literary drama.

The autumn season opens with a new production of the much-loved modern classic, BRASSED OFF (Thu 5 – Sat 28 September 2024). Based on the smash-hit film about a tight-knit Yorkshire mining town, and the dispirited brass playing miners who may have their hopes dashed of qualifying for the National Championships, as they fight to keep their colliery open. Paul Allen adapts this co-production from Octagon Theatre Bolton, Theatre by the Lake and Stephen Joseph Theatre, directed by Theatre by the Lake’s Artistic Director, Liz Stevenson and featuring live music from local brass bands.

Critically acclaimed theatre company Rifco Theatre will then present the hilarious comedy PALI & JAY’S ASIAN WEDDING DJ ROADSHOW (Wed 16 – Sat 19 October 2024) which follows uncle and nephew duo Pali and Jay in the competitive world of wedding DJ’ing. With competition for gigs heating up, cases of DJ’ing sabotage amongst their rivals, and Jay wanting to disband the duo to pursue a career as a stand-up comic, can they navigate their latest gig to save the company and their bromance? Don’t miss this wonderful comedy written by Viraj Juneja and directed by Ameet Chana.

The season continues with the hysterically funny & dark comedy STONES IN HIS POCKET (Tue 22 October – Sat 2 November 2024). The Octagon Theatre, Barn Theatre and Wiltshire Creative present Marie Jones’ thought-provoking comedy, directed by the playwright’s son, Matthew McElhinney. Set in rural Ireland, a small village is turned upside down when a Hollywood studio arrives to film the latest historical blockbuster – but Tinseltown’s romanticised dream of Ireland is far from reality in this fresh take on the witty, award-winning comedy.

Heading into the festive season, this year we present an enchanting new musical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s much-loved classic, THE JUNGLE BOOK (Fri 22 November 2024 – Sat 4 January 2025). Go on an exciting jungle adventure as Mowgli learns the laws of the jungle in this funny, exciting, and wildly entertaining family musical by Andrew Pollard and Ziad Jabero and directed by Sarah Punshon.

The first show of 2025 sees Mina Anwar reprise the title role in Willy Russell’s heart-warming comedy SHIRLEY VALENTINE (Fri 7 February – Sat 8 March 2025), following her critically acclaimed, sell-out performance in our 2020 production. This will once again see Mina resetting the play to Lancashire. Lotte Wakeham directs this beloved northern comedy, that sees bored, stuck-in-a-rut housewife Shirley leave her hometown, husband and old life behind as she rediscovers herself on a holiday to Greece.

The autumn/winter season comes to a gripping conclusion with a compelling new production of John Steinbeck’sOF MICE AND MEN (Wed 26 March – Sat 12 April 2025). Sarah Brigham directs this classic tale of friendship and hope about two drifters, Lennie and George during the Great Depression who dream of living the great American dream. That dream comes crashing down and their friendship is put to the ultimate test as the play explores its themes of friendship, migration and prejudice in this must-see production.

There is also a fantastic selection of music, comedy and entertainment for 2024:

Ad Infinitum present a fierce, funny and bold take on some of the oldest stories known to woman in BEAUTIFUL EVIL THINGS (Thu 4 – Sat 6 July 2024). This high-energy tour-de-force combines physical storytelling and cut-throat wit and was named one of The Guardian’s Best Theatre of 2022. Ordinary Glory present a dynamic, all-female, gig-theatre show exploring disordered eating through real-life testimony in JOY UNSPEAKABLE (Sat 5 October 2024). The North West Film Archive provide a fascinating history into Bolton’s industries, cultures and traditions from the last hundred years as seen through captured footage from local film-makers when it presents BOLTON ON FILM (Tue 8 October 2024). The award-winning Dyad Productions return this autumn with AUSTEN’S WOMEN: LADY SUSAN (Wed 9 October 2024) presenting Jane Austen’s wickedly funny tale of Regency society and five women trapped within it.

Comedy fans can get a double dose of monthly hilarity with even more dates announced for the Octagon’s sell-out COMEDY CLUB (see Octagon website for all dates), showcasing some of the best names in comedy with two shows every month.

There is also a whole host of comedy entertainment on the bill this season, including foxy fun from BASIL BRUSH UNLEASHED (Wed 28 August 2024) – see Basil as you’ve never seen him before in this show just for adults. Then ITV The Chase’s The Vixen, Bolton’s own Jenny Ryan, invites audiences to an evening of song, storytelling and showbiz secrets in JENNY RYAN: OUT OF THE BOX (Wed 2 October 2024). Widely loved comedian Daliso Chaponda returns to the Octagon with his latest tour DALISO CHAPONDA: FEED THIS BLACK MAN AGAIN (Fri 11 October 2024) and then the award-winning cabaret show AN EVENING WITHOUT KATE BUSH (Mon 14 October 2024) pays glorious homage to the music, fans and mythology of the most influential voices in British music.

Music lovers can enjoy celebrations to some of pop and rock’s greatest icons with a trio of great shows across season. THE KING’S VOICE (Sun 30 June 2024) stars Gordon Hendricks as the king of rock ‘n’ roll Elvis Presley and transports audiences through time from the ’68 special through to the Vegas era and features all his biggest hits. Direct from London’s West End, MANIA: THE ABBA TRIBUTE (Sat 12 & Sun 13 October 2024) brings fans old and new, a memorable night that will have audiences saying thank you for the music. The breath-taking show that has rocked audiences around the globe, BUDDY HOLLY & THE CRICKETERS (Sun 20 October 2024) come to the Octagon and is guaranteed to have everyone singing and dancing along to the music.

We also have lots on offer for young theatre lovers to enjoy, with plenty of family entertainment. Enjoy a magical adaptation of the classic picture book THE GRUFFALO (Thu 3 – Sat 5 October 2024) promising songs, laughs and monstrous fun for ages 3 and up. The first Saturday of the month FAMILY SATURDAYS will include FREE storytelling sessions followed by arts, crafts and creative activities to help spark creativity and imaginations for ages 4+ and families, plus small soft play for families with little ones under 4. Following the huge success of last year’s festive studio show Alfie the Elf, the Octagon and The Big Tiny will present a yuletide treat for children aged 3-7 with the magical interactive adventure RUDOLPH THE REINDEER’S RED NOSE ROADSHOW (Fri 13 – Sat 30 December 2024) -where children become heroes and help Rudolph get his magic back.

Before the autumn season kicks off, Bolton will be experiencing festival fever this summer, with two festivals coming to the venue in July and August.

Earlier this year we announced details of the first ever BOLTON COMEDY FESTIVAL (Fri 12 – Sun 14 July 2024). The packed programme will include daily headline performances in our main theatre, a series of work in progress shows in the intimate studio space and live podcast recordings with special guests. Over 20 comedians will perform across the 3 days, featuring some of the top names in stand-up including headliners - Dara Ó Briain, Dylan Moran, Emmanuel Sonubi and Catherine Bohart.

Our ever-popular annual FAMILY FESTIVAL (Sat 24 – Mon 26 August) makes a welcome return for 2024, promising a whole host of FREE crafts, storytelling, performances, dancing and much more across the bank holiday weekend. More details to be announced soon.

Octagon Artistic Director, Lotte Wakeham commented:“Our autumn/winter season is packed with laugh out loud comedies, captivating drama, literary classics, family entertainment and much more - a real mix of top-quality entertainment with something on offer for everyone to enjoy.

“We are taking audiences on a round-the-world trip from the comfort of the Octagon as we transport you from a coal mine in Yorkshire to a beach in sunny Greece to the jungles of India.

“We cannot wait to welcome audiences to the Octagon for unforgettable experiences and create treasured, ever-lasting memories over the coming season and beyond.”

The best way to see shows is with our Season Saver packages – with audiences getting the best seats at the best prices, saving up to 20% off tickets. Tickets for the new season go on general salefrom 9am onFriday 3 May.

Become an Octagon Member and get exclusive priority booking access as well as bigger savings on Season Saver packages and other discounts. Priority booking for Members opens on 11am on Tuesday 30 April.

See full autumn/winter line-up