Octagon Theatre unveil their exciting Spring/Summer season 2024
Preview by Steve Cooke
A lot for theatre goers to look forward to in 2024 with the Octagon Theatre announcing an unmissable programme year for their spring/summer season.
The impressive line-up boasts a literary classic, a rock ‘n’ roll musical, a compelling new play, a hilarious northern classic, a zany fast-paced comedy, and a musical adaptation of a beloved family adventure.
As they get ready to open their rip-roaring festive show later this month, the venue is already looking ahead to 2024, in what promises to be a jam-packed season with something for all audiences to enjoy.
Kicking off their spring offering is a bold reimagining of one of literature’s most loved authors, in a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s NORTHANGER ABBEY (Fri 1 – Sat 23 March 2024). A co-production with Orange Tree Theatre, Stephen Joseph Theatre and Theatre by the Lake, this new adaptation by Zoe Cooper infuses the plot and spirit of Austen’s original novel with her own unique voice. Directed by Tessa Walker (former Associate Director at Hampstead Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre) it promises a play packed full of humour and brimming with love.
Then, one of the world’s greatest entertainers is celebrated in HOUDINI’S GREATEST ESCAPE (Wed 3 – Sat 6 April 2024) in this hilarious 39 Steps-esque thriller from New Old Friends in association with Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. Expect physical comedy, sparkling wit, a touch of chaos and mind-blowing and unbelievable magic illusions.
Classic comedy is next on the bill in John Godber’s hysterical northern favourite, BOUNCERS (Tue 9 – Sat 20 April 2024) from The John Godber Company. Celebrate good times at the Octagon when this new production takes audiences back to the 80s when disco was king, and everyone lived for the weekend.
Next up is the smash-hit musical sensation LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Wed 24 April – Sat 18 May 2024), in a co-production with New Wolsey Theatre, Theatre by the Lake and Hull Truck Theatre. This brand-new production of the devilishly delicious sci-fi musical,directed by the Octagon’s Artistic Director Lotte Wakeham, features an iconic rock ‘n’ roll score in this beloved, globally renowned show.
The season continues with a compelling new play TESTMATCH (Thu 23 May – Sat 1 June 2024), a co-production with Orange Tree Theatre and English Touring Theatre (ETT). Directed by award-winning director Diane Page, this provocative and funny play by Kate Atwell explores the mythology of fair play when cricket’s past and present collide in this captivating production, set during present day Lord’s at the Women’s Cricket World Cup and early 19th century India.
Bram Stokers best-selling novel gets a hilarious re-telling in the brand-new comedy theatre show, DRACULA: THE BLOODY TRUTH (Tue 11 – Sat 29 June 2024) – a co-production with Stephen Joseph Theatre and directed by their Artistic Director, Paul Robinson. Three years after the iconic gothic novel was released, Professor Abraham Van Helsing is not happy. He knows the truth - the Bloody Truth - and is about to share that with audiences, in this side-splitting comedy by the UK’s leading physical comedy theatre company, La Nevet Bete, and writer of previous Octagon smash-hits The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Time Machine, John Nicolson.
efore all that, the Octagon will bring their current season to a gripping conclusion with a compelling new production of George Orwell’s iconic classic drama, ANIMAL FARM (Thu 1 – Sat 24 February 2024), adapted for the stage by Ian Woolridge and directed by renowned director Iqbal Khan. This enduring and devastating satire about equality and the corruption of power will be brought vividly to life in the Octagon’s co-production with Derby Theatre and Hull Truck Theatre.
There is also a fantastic selection of music, comedy and entertainment for 2024:
Celebrate some of the Bard’s biggest characters in BARRIE RUTTER’S SHAKESPEARE’S ROYALS (Sun 10 March 2024) when the acclaimed actor and OBE shares memories and anecdotes from a career playing and directing Shakespeare’s Royals. Then, Seamus Carey brings his controversial, sell-out comedy HELP! I THINK I’M A NATIONALIST (Mon 11 March 2024), a show on identity, second homes, xenophobia, and bagpipes.
Music fans will be spoilt for choice with performances including TRULY COLLINS (Sat 13 January 2024) the hit show celebrating the unforgettable music of Phil Collins and Genesis and SOMETHING ABOUT GEORGE – THE GEORGE HARRISON STORY (Sun 17 March 2024), the musical biopic about the “quiet” Beatle returns following its sell-out show earlier this year. Direct from London’s world-famous jazz club comes THE RONNIE SCOTT’S STORY (Wed 27 March 2024) combining world-class live jazz, narration, rare archive photos and video footage. Finally, the multi award-winning show SINATRA: RAW (Sun 14 April 2024) brings to life the man who defined an era, starring actor and singer Richard Shelton who is internationally acclaimed as one of the world’s best interpreters of Frank Sinatra’s music.
Comedy fans can get a double dose of monthly hilarity with even more dates announced for the Octagon’s sell-out COMEDY CLUB (see Octagon website for all dates), showcasing some of the best names in comedy with two shows every month.
The season will also include a double bill of family entertainment for young theatre lovers, with two children’s books brought magically to life on stage:
Based on the Eric Hill classic book comes a brand-new adaptation, SPOT’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (Thu 28 – Sat 30 March 2024). The beloved pup is having a very special party filled with interactive party games, songs and dancing, in this interactive and accessible show for ages 2+. Meanwhile, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s bestselling tale THE GRUFFALO (Thu 3 – Sat 5 October 2024) promises a daring adventure through the deep dark wood in this magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book for ages 3+.
The Octagon’s Artistic Director, Lotte Wakeham, commented: “We are heading into 2024 with a bang, as we announce an incredibly exciting and varied new season. As well as innovative new plays such as Testmatch, we’re continuing our commitment to brilliant adaptations of beloved stories, including a bold and unique new reimagining of Jane Austen’s romantic novel Northanger Abbey, a brilliantly fast-paced, farcical comedic adaptation of Dracula, and a joyful new musical adaptation of The Jungle Book to entertain families for Christmas 2024. Our audiences have fed back that they love musicals and live music, so I’m also thrilled that we are going to be staging a brand-new production of the hugely popular rock ‘n’ roll musical, Little Shop of Horrors.
“We will once again be teaming up with some brilliant producing partners and countless incredible artists. We’ll also have the very best in music, comedy and entertainment from some of the UK’s best touring productions.”
“At the Octagon we pride ourselves on offering captivating, magical and thrilling theatrical experiences for audiences of all ages and we cannot wait to welcome even more people through our doors in 2024.”
The best way to see shows is with the Octagon’s Season Saver packages – with audiences getting the best seats at the best prices, saving up to 20% off tickets. Tickets for the new season go on general sale from 11am on Wed 15 November.
Become an Octagon Member and get exclusive priority booking access as well as bigger savings on Season Saver packages and other discounts. Priority booking for Members opens on 11am on Thu 9 November.
For more information or to book tickets visit octagonbolton.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01204 520661.
Octagon Theatre, Howell Croft South Bolton BL1 1SB