The Octagon Theatre call in the troops for GIANT community production

The Octagon Theatre call in the troops for GIANT community production

Jumbles Sailing Club, Bolton Sea Cadets, RNLI and Greater Manchester Fire Service have all pitched in to help with upcoming production Gulliver’s Travels.

Rehearsals have now begun for Bolton Amateur Theatre Societies, choirs and young people from across Bolton who will join a cast of professional actors to present Gulliver’s Travels – a full scale Octagon Theatre production presented in Queens Park.

An 8m tall giant puppet made by Hebden Bridge company Handmade Parade has been installed in Queens Park this week ahead of the Octagon Theatre’s production of Gulliver’s Travels. The large scale operation has meant that the theatre has called in help from organisations across Bolton to help achieve the vision for their first ever park show.

The walkabout promenade production will take place in Queens Park locations including the sunken garden, the glade, the lake and the amphitheatre. As an essential part of the installation Bolton Sea Cadets and Jumbles Sailing club have supplied a dinghy that will be used to transport scenery and actors onto the lake.

Brian Hoy at Jumbles Sailing Club said: “Bolton Sea Cadets and Jumbles Sailing Club combined together to provide a boat for construction of the set and transport of the cast. Everyone was more than happy to help the Octagon. We see this as a community event which needed a specific piece of kit in order to make the show happen.”

RNLI have supplied waders to the Octagon Theatre production team enabling them to enter the lake at Queens Park to build a jetty which will also be used to transport scenery and actors.

The Bolton division of the Greater Manchester Fire Service came to the rescue with an engine to fill four water ballasts that have been used to support set structures that are being installed turning Queens Park into the land of Lilliput.

Co-director and current Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman said; “We’re so grateful to everyone for pulling together to make Gulliver’s Travels happen for Bolton. Especially after Summer Holiday on the buses we have just been overwhelmed by how supportive the Bolton community have been in helping us tell this important story.

Our brilliant partners at Queens Park Café, BATS, local choirs, Bolton Music Service, Carrs Pasties and Bolton Council have been integral to helping us celebrate being Out and About whilst our theatre building is closed for redevelopment”

Queens Park was recently awarded a a prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Linda Thomas, GMCA lead for culture, arts and leisure, added: “This is going to be a fantastic production which will showcase our fabulous park to hundreds of people.

“The Octagon Theatre is an integral and much loved part of Bolton’s cultural landscape. Their productions delight and involve people of all ages and abilities, and we are proud that the theatre’s first ever park show will be held in Queens Park.

“Putting on a show like this in our park makes the arts available to communities throughout our borough - this is a key aim of the Town Centre Masterplan and the Octagon redevelopment project is a vital part of this.”

The production team at the Octagon Theatre, lead by Vinny Holme and assisted by Norma Rutherford are now continuing to work towards the opening of the production on Thu 16 August.

Gulliver’s Travels will take place in Queens Park co-directed by Elizabeth Newman and Ben Occhipinti and showing Thu 16 - Mon 27 Aug. Evening performances at 7.15pm with a matinee performance on Sat 25 Aug at 21.5pm. Ticket prices from £12 - £15.

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Image: LtoR Andy Laycock, Andy Turner, Dan Bailey, Andy Foy.