News Story

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First Bites Festival to include new works and works in progress.

Today we have announced a brand-new week-long festival that will showcase and celebrate local theatre-makers.

Our inaugural First Bites Festival will include 6 new works and works in progress from Bolton and Greater Manchester based artists, over 6-days from Mon 18 – Sat 23 September.

Supported by the our Artist Development scheme, the festival will provide an exciting opportunity for emerging theatre-makers to share their work with a live audience, and for Octagon audiences to be the first to experience these brand-new works.

Interactive family show HIBERNATION from puppet theatre company Eye of Newt opens the festival, with two performances on Mon 18 & Tue 19 September. Explore what happens to nature in the autumn featuring spikey hedgehogs, forgetful squirrels, and grumpy bears.

Hibernation will be part of a family double-bill on both the Monday and Tuesday evenings.

Mon 18 September, storyteller Ilaria Passeri will also present a brand-new storytelling show, THE TIDY TROLLS. Adventure awaits as Albert the monkey, Brian the chicken and Rita the mouse get ready for the tidy trolls to come and visit in this wonderfully entertaining show about friendship, perfect for ages 3+. Whilst Tue 19 September, will feature A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE from award-winning theatre-maker Rebecca Pythian. Get in the festive spirit early and join elves Tinsel and Snowflake as they find out the true meaning of Christmas through the joy of music, friendship and epic dance moves. Great for all the family from ages 3+.

Enjoy a night of storytelling on Wed 20 September with JUST STORIES. Expect laughs, hilarious stories and nostalgia in this free event which is open to local storytellers to share new works, hosted by Ilaria Passeri. Anyone interested in applying for a 10-minute storytelling slot can contact

Manchester theatre company Switch_MCR will host a brilliant night of short plays and extracts created by up-and coming-theatre-makers, in the OCTAGON SCRATCH NIGHT on Thu 21 September. More information about line-up will be announced soon.

Bringing the festival to a close is LONG STRONG HAIR, a semi-autobiographical piece by Monica Sagar that follows Amrit, a neurodivergent, Queer, Non-Binary Sikh person, and explores how hair is an integral part of identity, gender, sexuality and spiritual growth. This two-hander uses movement, projection and poetry, and comes to the Octagon on Fri 22 & Sat 23 September.

Associate Director and Artist Development Co-ordinator, Georgia Murphy said:“Over the last 6 months we have been working with local theatre-makers, supporting development of some amazing new projects. The First Bites Festival is a culmination of all their hard work and a chance to share these incredible works-in-progress with audiences for the very first time. It promises to be a really exciting week as part of our autumn programme and is a wonderful showcase of the sensational local talent we have right on our doorstep.”

The Octagon’s First Bite Festival takes place from Mon 18 – Fri 23 September and tickets for are on sale now.

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