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Octagon gets creative with stories


The young cast of The Book Thief, and right, Jodi Picoult (her pic: Deborah Feingold)
The young cast of The Book Thief, and right, Jodi Picoult (her pic: Deborah Feingold)

Bolton Octagon has launched a major new community programme offering young people easier access to the arts The three-year programme, Sharing Stories, will involve partners across the borough – including Bolton Wanderers in the Community, Bolton CVS and Bolton Library and Museum Services – to work with hundreds of families to create storytelling, creative and literacy-based activities drawing on the strengths and experiences of local people. The theatre is currently recruiting someone to run the programme and start talking to families, schools and partners.

The project is the result of a grant from the Oglesby Charitable Trust – a long-standing supporter of the theatre’s community work, which last gave the theatre tens of thousands of pounds in 2020, in support of its emergency appeal fund. Octagon Theatre Chief Executive Roddy Gauld said: “Sharing Stories is an ambitious programme that will take place in multiple neighbourhoods across Bolton. We’ll be working with families to design what activities they want to take part in, whether that’s drama, film, writing, reading or anything else. We are delighted at the Oglesby Charitable Trust's continued support. “Our recent production of The Book Thief is about a girl whose life is changed by the power of words and stories. We’re looking forward to inspiring a new generation of storytellers in Bolton." The Octagon has even managed to get one of The Book Thief's writers – best-selling novelist Jodi Picoult – to act as an ambassador in support of the programme. She said: “As an author I believe in the power of stories – storytelling, whether it happens on a page or on a stage, empowers children with skills they’ll use forever.”

Find out more about the job running the three-year programme here