Brand new plays coming to Bolton Museum

Brand new plays coming to Bolton Museum

On Sunday 14 July, three of our Creative Engagement groups will be taking part in Exhibit!, three brand new plays, inspired by some of the exhibits at Bolton Museum.

Here in Bolton we’re really fortunate to have some fantastic cultural venues, the Octagon and Bolton Museum being just two of them. We’ve been visiting the museum for some time and the groups, Connect, Bridges and Artbeat, have been interested in exploring stories inspired by the exhibits. We thought that, whilst the Octagon are making theatre offsite, it would be the perfect opportunity for our Creative Engagement groups to perform their piece in the museum.

Writer Janys Chambers, previously New Writing Associate at the Octagon, has worked extensively with our groups. Janys wrote two of the scripts, Elephant and Worktown and she also worked closely with members of Artbeat, our over 50s group, to help them write The Bolton Chronicles. Continue reading to find out more about the pieces.


Bridges Company will be performing Elephant based on How the Elephant Got its Trunk by Rudyard Kipling.

Bridges Company is our group for adults with additional needs. We meet on Mondays and many of our members have been attending for several years.

On our first trip to the museum, the group were really excited and intrigued by the Wildlife Gallery. We did some drama activities in the gallery and decided which animals might make the best characters. We’d been looking at some Just So Stories recently, and the theme of animals and their stories seemed a perfect fit.

Janys Chambers wrote an original version of How the Elephant Got its Trunk, specially adapted for Bridges. This will be performed in the museum space at 10.30am.

The Bolton Chronicles

Artbeat, our over 50s group, will be performing The Bolton Chronicles, inspired by local stories from Bolton’s past.

Artbeat is our theatre group for over 50s. Over the course of this spring term, they worked together to creatively explore their individual and collective responses to the broad theme of Bolton: past, present and future. This included a group visit to the Bolton history section of Bolton Museum, as well as bringing in items of personal historical significance connected to Bolton as a place and some vibrant debates! Out of this rich process, each member of the group wrote a short character monologue and, working with the group facilitator, Janys Chambers, these monologues were woven into a performance text entitled The Bolton Chronicles. The group have been rehearsing this piece, which will be performed as a promenade piece in the museum at 12pm and 2.45pm.


Connect, our group for young performers aged 13-19, is performing Worktown, inspired by the Mass Observation Project of the 1930s.

The year is 1939 and throughout Bolton, observers are standing on the street, sitting in pubs, going to political rallies - recording the daily life of the people of Bolton. This play by Octagon’s Connect group, working alongside Janys Chambers, tells the story of Mass Observation, the movement which started in Bolton and became a household name in the 1930s. We meet photographer Humphrey Spender and anthropologist Tom Harrisson, as we discover the human stories of those who sought to change the world from right here in Bolton.

Worktown will be performed in the Local History Area in the museum at 2pm and 3.45pm

All the performance are 30 minutes long and are FREE to attend.

We are really excited about the performances and delighted to be working in partnership with Bolton Museum in this way.

To find out more about our groups or if you are interested in joining please click here

Photo taken by Andrew Hodson, inside Bolton Museum’s natural history gallery.