10/07/2019

The Octagon theatre's artistic director Elizabeth Newman has left Bolton and taken up a new role in Scotland

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Elizabeth, who collaborated closely with the University of Bolton as part of the unique Theatre Degree (Hons) course, is the new Artistic Director of Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Elizabeth, originally from Croydon, moved to Bolton in 2009 and became Artistic Director of the Octagon just over three years ago, when her predecessor, Professor David Thacker, left to run the university’s Theatre Degree at the Queens Campus in Farnworth. Prof Thacker and his students have an ongoing special relationship with the Octagon and the course is interlinked with the prestigious theatre and its productions. He still directs two plays a year which students become involved with. The first cohort of the Theatre Degree graduated in the summer. Elizabeth said she was delighted with the work that the theatre and the university have done together. “I am the university’s number one fan – the love and care shown towards the students is extraordinary, the quality of teaching is amazing and the university is supporting Bolton in its efforts to regenerate the town.” Elizabeth received an Honorary Doctorate for her services to Theatre from the University of Bolton in a special graduation ceremony at Bolton Town Hall in July, which she said had made her “immensely proud”. Reflecting on her time in Bolton and at the Octagon, she said: “I love it here, but it is time for a new challenge. “The people of Bolton have got such a capacity to get on. I meant that in both senses of the phrase – to get on with each other, but also to get on and get something done in spite of how challenging it might be. To co-operate and get things done together,” she said. The theatre is currently closed as it undergoes a huge revamp and the next season’s productions will be staged at different venues while the work is being done.

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