The Octagon Theatre, Bolton has launched a public fundraising campaign to raise £1.5 million towards its building redevelopment.
Members of the public are called on to buy a brick, sponsor a seat, run a marathon or jump out of a plane to raise money for the project. Turning 50 this month, the theatre is in need of repairs to improve its accessibility and sustainability and ensure future use.
Through a £9.87 million redevelopment plan, the theatre aims to improve audience comfort with air conditioning in the main auditorium, more toilets, and a two-floor cafe and bar area. The theatre also aims to ensure access for wheelchair users or those with mobility impairment, including backstage and in dressing rooms. It has already achieved 85% of its overall £9.87m goal, with a £3.8m grant from Arts Council England as well as funding from other supporters.
Chief executive at Octagon Theatre, Roddy Gauld said: “We’re thrilled the next phase of Arts Council funding and planning permission have been approved, they are amazing birthday presents and we are turning to our community and our audiences to help us ensure the building work will start in May next year. When we reopen in 2019, the theatre will be more accessible and more comfortable. Not only will we have fixed all the leaks and broken drains and other problems that a 50-year-old building has, we’ll have more space for our youth and community work and better facilities for the public. The Octagon will be set for the next 50 years.”
With planning permission granted, the theatre is to go dark next year while redevelopment works take place. In summer 2018 it will produce work “on the road” at different locations across the city and is set to reopen in 2019.