Reopening of the Octagon delayed due to impact of Covid-19

Reopening of the Octagon delayed due to impact of Covid-19

Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic the opening of the major redevelopment of the Octagon has been delayed until late autumn 2020.

Originally due to be completed in the summer, interruption to construction work due to the pandemic has led to the delay in when then building will be completed, with the Octagon’s planned opening weekend and first two productions of the reopening season affected.

The building is now expected to reopen in late-autumn, returning to Bolton bigger and bolder than ever before. Previously announced opening weekend celebrations planned for July, including One Night in Bolton, will be re-scheduled with dates to be announced soon.

In line with this delay, the opening production of One Man, Two Guvnors has been re-scheduled for summer 2021. The smash-hit comedy farce originally planned for September 2020 will now take place Thu 17 June – Sat 17 July 2021.

The Octagon performance dates for Marvellous, a co-production with New Vic, have unfortunately been cancelled.

Other events and one-night shows due to take place before December will be re-scheduled for 2021 wherever possible.

Our Box Office team will be contacting ticket holders of affected performances directly, to offer revised dates, provide a refund or details on how to donate the ticket cost to support the venue, which is a registered charity.

All other shows in the re-opening season have currently not been affected, with the opening production expected to now be the world premiere adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

Octagon Chief Executive Roddy Gauld commented: The Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably hit our plans to re-open this summer and public safety must come first.  The building cannot be finished on the previously announced schedule, so we’ve taken the unavoidable step of moving One Man, Two Guvnors to next year and unfortunately cancelling Marvellous.  Tickets for the remaining shows in the new season are still on-sale and we’ve made our exchange policy even more flexible so customers can book in advance with confidence.  We believe our first production will now be A Christmas Carol, and I can’t think of a more fitting and compassionate feel good story to tell in this unprecedented year.

I want to reassure people – we may be later than originally planned, but we will be back.  And once the lock down is over, I hope people will look forward to a fantastic night out at the Octagon again!

Everyone has a part to play in our society right now.  Our role, as a charitable theatre, is to look forward and ensure that when this current crisis has passed that our cultural and social lives can recover and that we deliver on our contribution to regenerating Bolton’s economy.”

Artistic Director, Lotte Wakeham added: We understand that this delay may come as a disappointment to our audiences but it was a decision that was unavoidable due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

However, I believe the planned opening production of A Christmas Carol will be the perfect show to bring the community together, and celebrate the message of the festive season, with generosity and goodwill to all.  We are also busy working on our other opening celebrations. I’m also thrilled that we’ve been able to confirm new dates for One Man Two Guvnors, so audiences will still be able to enjoy this hilarious play in 2021.

Meanwhile, at the Octagon we are determined to still be able to entertain and engage with our audiences during this unprecedented period. We have recently launched Octagon Online which has a range of activities to help bring creativity to our communities, and we’re continuing to engage with our participants in a number of ways. There will be new content added regularly, including a new Bolton wide writing competition that we will be launching very soon.”

In light of this delay which will mean a loss of £500,000 of expected income for the charity, we are launching a new public fundraising appeal to help support the venue during this difficult time.

Head of Development, Danielle Fearnley said: “We are finding new ways to continue supporting our audiences and community at this difficult time, and are doing all we can to reach out to as many as possible. In return we ask that you stand by us as we face this significant challenge, and help us continue planning the exciting next chapter for the Octagon. As a registered charity, we need your support now more than ever. We ask that if people are in a position to help fund our future, please make a donation, join our membership scheme, become a Patron or support now in any way you can.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so on the Octagon website at: or by calling the Box Office on 01204 520661. For more information please contact Danielle Fearnley at

We will be announcing revised details of the opening celebrations in the coming weeks. Tickets for the re-opening season are on sale now. 

Book tickets for future productions here or call box office on 01204 520661

Here is a video message from Artistic Director Lotte Wakeham about the delay: