Monday, 21 January 2008

A New Face

It gives me great pleasure to let you know of a new face who has recently joined the team here at the Octagon. I'll hand over to her and let her do the honours.....


I'd like to introduce myself to you all as the Head of Communications for the Octagon. It's the beginning of my third week here, so I'm starting to find my feet.
(Ed - apologies for not posting this sooner. I've had problems with uploading pictures to my computer!)

I am really excited to be joining the team at such an important time in the theatre's history and ongoing development. To come in on the hugely successful 40th anniversary season is to see the theatre at its best; the staff are proud of everything that's been achieved, the audiences are buzzing and it feels like a vibrant time.

As they say, Life begins at 40, so I am confident that when the season finishes, the buzz will remain and things will go from strength to strength. I hope you join me and the rest of the staff here on the journey into the future.

Thank you, I look forward to welcoming you all to the theatre and meeting many of you at our events.


Well its nice to have you, Monika, and I am sure both staff and audiences alike will make her feel very welcome. Remember to say 'Hello' if you see her when you visit the theatre.

Friday, 11 January 2008

A Little Annoucement

Well it seems that we are half way through our 40th Anniversary Season already. Can you believe it! The first half of the season has gone superbly with not only brilliant reviews but also resulting in a very busy Ticket Office which keeps the bean counters (hi Keith!) very happy. To mark this mid-point and to inform you of a change to the programme, we have now taken delivery of our Anniversary Mid-Season brochure (see the front cover above). A big thank you to the lovely and ever helpful Caroline for designing the brochure for us. You can pick up your own copy from the Theatre foyer - why not pop in today, it's always great to see you.

As you may know, we have changed the end of season show, and you can read all about the exciting new show Once Upon A Time in Wigan - LIVE! as well as find out a bit more about some of the new special events that have recently gone on sale. These new events include new music nights presented by Cityscape Records in the Bill Naughton Studio Theatre. The first, in May, will feature the music of Merchandise (have a listen to their stuff here), followed in June by The Loungs (hear them here).

The Foundations featuring Clem Curtis will be appearing in the Main Auditorium and just to indulge you (and me) you can seem them performing the anthem Build Me Up Buttercup below

and last, but by no means least, Elvis is in the building! Yes, siree.....

Well not Elvis exactly, his voice isn't what it was, but the next best thing in the form of some of the World's leading tribute acts. You can read more here and here. So, in the words of the King himself, how about a little less conversation and a little more action! Pick up the phone (or go online) and book your tickets. They are selling faster than Elvis could swivel those hips! Thankyouverymuch...

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Thankyou Letters

Not only has A Christmas Carol got some nice press reviews, we have also have had some fantastic feedback from our audience. Here's a lovely letter that we were sent recently. There's something so nice and personal about 'snail mail' in this internet age.

If you can't read the above here are a few edited highlights:
We have been to see many productions at the Octagon but must say this was the
best performance I have ever seen there.....It was brilliant from start to
finish. Thanks to all the cast for their performance and last but not least all
the backstage people who helped to put on this production. A job well done!

And not only have people take the time to write to us to say how much they have enjoyed the show but also have written to The Bolton News.

If you can't make out the text above you can read the letters online here and here. So many thanks to those that have come to see the show and special thanks to those that have put in the effort to write about their experiences!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

The Crucible - Casting News

Happy New Year one and all! Hope you all enjoyed your festive break and are looking forward to what 2008 will bring. We've got some great theatre planned for 2008 continuing with the run of A Christmas Carol (playing until 19 January) and followed by The Crucible which opens at the end of the month.

I am particularly excited about The Crucible as this will be the first time I have seen a production here staged in 'the round' and according to my longer serving colleagues it will be the first time we have staged an Octagon production in the round since 2002! So welcome back 'the round' - its nice to see you again!

Not only will be welcoming this new seating shape, I would also like to welcome one of the biggest casts to ever grace the Octagon stage. Mark has assembled a fine cast which includes some Octagon Theatre favourites making a welcome return including some MEN Theatre award winners amongst them and some actors new to Octagon audiences. I am sure you will welcome them in your usual positive, enthusiatic way!

Matt Rixon, who appeared in the recent smash hit Oh What A Lovely War, is joined by Hayley Jayne Standing and Sue Twist who appeared in the Manchester Evening News award-winning play And Did Those Feet. John Proctor will be played by Chook Sibtain from the opening show of the Anniversary Season, Lisa's Sex Strike.

Left to right: Matt Rixon, Hayley Jayne Standing, Susan Twist, Chook Sibtain

Other Octagon Theatre regulars Eileen O'Brien, who previously appeared in The Beauty Queen of Leenane in 2005 and won an MEN award for her performance, Leigh Symonds who also received an MEN award for his role in Popcorn, Maireed Conneely (Shining City), Catherine Kinsella (A View From the Bridge) and Stuart Fox who along with the other members of the cast was nominated for yet another MEN award for Best Actor in a Visiting Production for Blue/Orange.

Left to right: Eileen O'Brien, Leigh Symonds, Mairead Conneely, Catherine Kinsella and Stuart Fox