Octagon Theatre

The Octagon Theatre Bolton is an intimate producing theatre located in the North West of England. Operating for over forty years, the Octagon Theatre has seen performances by leading playwrights and world premieres. The theatre is a main supporter of local theatre productions and playwrights. In addition to theatrical works written British and international playwrights, the Octagon Theatre also provides a range of community and education programs, including playwriting courses. In addition to Shakespeare's works, the Octagon produces a variety of genres from contemporary plays to musicals and drama.


Opening in 1967, the first production at the Octagon Theatre was Bill Naughton's Annie and Fanny. The theatre was officially opened by Princess Margaret. Naughton is Bolton's most famous playwrights. Each year, the theatre produces between eight and night professional productions at the Octagon's Main Auditorium. The building was designed by Geoffrey H. Banks, the Director of Architecture for Bolton.

Built with the help of public donations, the Octagon Theatre was the first professional theatre constructed in the North West of England following the Second World War. In addition to its main auditorium, the Octagon was extended in 1987 to accommodate a smaller studio theatre. The Octagon Theatre was refurbished again in 1998 in order to improve seating systems and access for visitors with disabilities. Additional upgrades at the time included new space for business hospitality and an expanded bar area.

Theatre Information

The Octagon Theatre is one of Bolton's leading and most popular cultural attractions. The modest glass-fronted theatre includes two performing auditoriums. The Octagon is visited by over 150,000 people annually. Most production work is completed at the theatre itself thanks to a large on-site workshop used for set construction. The Octagon Theatre also features rehearsal space for productions, known as The Lab. The theatre is also the site of the Spotlight Café.

The flexible Main Auditorium can be configured in thrust, end-on or in-the-round layouts. With an end-on format the auditorium is capable of seating 343 people, while 401 theatregoers may be accommodated with seating in a round format. In a thrust format, the auditorium seats between 305 and 311 spectators. The stage features wood flooring, although it is not spring and there is no sub-stage.

Originally names the Octopus Studio, the secondary theatre at the Octagon was renamed to The Bill Naughton Studio Theatre in 1994 in honour of the city's renowned playwright. The studio theatre is configured with a thrust format with fixed seating accommodating approximately 100 theatregoers. The stage features a wood-clad concrete floor without a sub-stager.


The Octagon Theatre is located in the centre of Bolton. Within a five minute walk of the town centre's main train and bus stations, the theatre can be easily reached by train, bus and road. Parking is available at the Octagon NCP multi-storey car park next to the theatre on Great Moor Street. When driving from Manchester, visitors should exist the M61 at the A666 (Bolton) and towards Great Moor Street. If driving from the North, exist the M61 Motorway at Junction 5.

Contact Information

General enquiries for the Octagon Theatre in Bolton may be directed to 01204 529407, while queries regarding ticket sales should be directed to 01204 520661. The theatre may also be contacted by email at info@octagonbolton.co.uk.

The mailing address for the Octagon Theatre is:
Octagon Theatre
Howell Croft South