It’s been exactly one year since the doors to Bolton’s Octagon Theatre temporarily closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
But in that time, it’s undergone an impressive £12 million transformation.
Now that an “irreversible” roadmap for lifting England’s current national lockdown has been set out and the stage is set for the reopening of theatres all across the country on 17th May, at the earliest, the Octagon Theatre – which is located in the heart of Bolton town centre and welcomed its first visitors in 1967 – has given us a glimpse at its multi-million pound refurbishment.
The theatre had hoped to raise the curtain on the revamp last summer, before those plans had to be put on hold as a result of ongoing restrictions.
It looks like theatre fans won’t have to wait much longer now though.
Speaking ahead of the theatre’s reopening following refurbishment, Roddy Gauld – Chief Executive at the Octagon Theatre – said: “After what has been a tumultuous 12 months, we are now excited to be looking to our future as we plan our reopening.
“The Octagon is an incredible creative and cultural hub for Bolton and we hope these first glimpses inside the redeveloped building will lift people’s excitement as we get ready to welcome the public back through our doors.
“The reimagined Octagon benefits from more internal space, is more environmentally friendly, has vastly improved accessibility, and enhanced customer and backstage facilities for everyone’s comfort.
“The building needed a new roof and major modernisation of its electrics and plumbing and I’m pleased to say is now fit for generations to come”.
He continued: “The pandemic has hit Bolton particularly hard, and the Octagon is now ready to play a leading role in our town’s recovery and future. We know people are looking forward to live entertainment and I don’t think the theatre could be more needed or more capable than it is right now”.
Bolton Council and Arts Council England helped fund this refurbishment project, as well as public donations to an appeal that raised almost £85,000.
Fancy a look at the results?
You can find more information ahead of reopening via the Octagon Theatre website here.
I’m A Celebrity line-up announced for brand new all-star series in South Africa
The all-star line-up for I’m A Celebrity… South Africa has been announced, with some massive Manchester celebs taking part.
The brand new show is due to air in April and will see some of the series’ most memorable campmates heading to a new setting in South Africa.
And that’s just part of the first wave of celebrity contestants – more famous faces will take part in I’m A Celebrity… South Africa, entering the camp as the series goes on.
The new series will ‘push them to their limits and test them like never before’, ITV has said, promising bigger and tougher challenges and an even harsher environment.
Also taking part from the launch episode will be Diversity star Jordan Banjo, TV presenter Carol Vorderman, Olympian Fatima Whitbread, former royal butler Paul Burrell, ex-England cricketer Phil Tufnell, and supermodel Janice Dickinson.
ITV said: “Whilst nodding back to the Australian jungle, I’m A Celebrity…South Africa is a uniquely different series so viewers can look forward to lots of unexpected twists and turns.”
The trailer also shows the celebs taking part in pre-recorded challenges, taking on everything from nasty food to terrifying heights.
I’m A Celebrity… South Africa will air on ITV1 and ITVX from April 2023.
Featured image: ITV
Commentator Arlo White shows off what the Old Trafford gantry walk looks like
Ever wondered what it’s like to be up in the gantry in a football stadium, say, Old Trafford? Well, we certainly have.
You see the odd shot of the commentators sat there on the telly from time to time but it never really gives much away either and, at some venues, it’s quite a ways up there. There’s a little bit of allure behind these mysterious parts of footy grounds that most fans will never get to see.
After hours of mindless scrolling on the social media app, we stumbled across the well-known sports commentator‘s channel where he’s been showing off what it’s like to go in the gantry and one of them is his long walk to crow’s nest up at the Theatre of Dreams.
As it turns out, Arlo’s been doing these videos for a couple of years now, revealing how the gantry looks not only at Old Trafford but other big Premier League grounds too, such as down the road at the Etihad, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, Tottenham Hotspurs’ sparkly new ground and many more.
Another reason we found ourselves stuck on his TikTok for so long was also because of the other behind-the-scenes details he reveals too, even shedding light on how he prepares for games: note-taking, data sheets, how keeps himself warm up there during those cold nights on comms and so on.