Hobson's Choice at the Octagon Theatre Bolton. Credit Ian Tilton

Octagon Theatre Bolton and the University of Bolton.

The Octagon is a producing theatre in Bolton, Greater Manchester; producing a year-round season of in-house productions and programmes of artist, community and youth development.

We have a now long-standing and growing relationship with the University of Bolton, which became particularly prominent in their sponsorship of the theatre’s 40th anniversary in 2007/08.  The following year the Artistic Director was invited to be a Visiting Professor and this has resulted in us teaching master-classes to students and enabling access to our rehearsals and processes.  In 2010, an Associate Director position was created with the support of the University.  Part of this role leads on new writing development and includes work with students and artists inside and outside the University.  The University has recognised that enabling a wider creative ecology in the town enriches the students’ experience and learning.

Other opportunities to involve students in the life of the Octagon include a module on community theatre giving students first-hand experience of this practice; and the Octagon Prize to have a public rehearsed reading of a Creative Writing student’s work.

Access to the theatre and its work has enabled research, not just in the fields of drama and English, but also psychology with a creative mental health project currently being studied.

2015 Banners[1]In 2013, we became part of a partnership with University of Salford, Royal Exchange Theatre and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse to teach a new industry-led MA in Playwriting.  Crucially, the partnership enables each theatre to commission work from a senior playwright who will also contribute to the course; therefore creating a body of work and experience alongside the learning.  The course achieved 100% recruitment in three months.

In 2014 we launched with the University of Bolton a new industry-led BA in Theatre Studies which brings together academic teaching and industry practice.

Other higher education links include ALRA North, a drama school based in Wigan, with whom we will soon be producing a final year production for tour.

July 2014

Contact Roddy Gauld

Chief Executive, Bolton Octagon



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