At a time when many regional theatres struggle for audiences, the Octagon is seeing an upward trend in visitor numbers. Over 135,000 people come to the Octagon each year as audience members, as partakers of the Theatre’s café bar and other facilities, or as participants of the Octagon’s highly regarded community and education programme, activ8. The Octagon’s audience is an inspiring example of a theatre reflecting - and responding to - its community. Today, 25% of the Octagon’s audience are young people aged 16-25, with 12% of the audience coming from culturally diverse backgrounds - slightly above the latest census statistics for Bolton.
In the forty glorious years since it opened, the Octagon has made a significant contribution to in the UK’s creative landscape. Octagon productions continue to break box office targets, win audience and critical acclaim, receive awards and plaudits, and tour nationally. Most recently, Alan Plater’s Blonde Bombshells Of 1943, a co-production with Hampstead Theatre, won the coveted Best Production award at the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards 2006 (the second year in a row that the Octagon won this prestigious award), and is currently enjoying a sell-out national UK tour.