The reopening of Bolton’s Octagon Theatre following a £10 million redevelopment has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the organisation with a £500,000 hole to fill.
The theatre said the impact of Covid-19 meant its reopening, planned for the summer, has been pushed back to late autumn.
Due to the delay, its planned opening show One Man, Two Guvnors will move to next year and a co-production with the New Vic has been cancelled completely, leading to a loss of £500,000 in expected income.
In response, it has launched a public fundraising appeal to help support the venue.
Head of development Danielle Fearnley said: “We are finding new ways to continue supporting our audiences and community at this difficult time, and are doing all we can to reach out to as many as possible. In return we ask that you stand by us as we face this significant challenge, and help us continue planning the exciting next chapter for the Octagon. As a registered charity, we need your support now more than ever. We ask that if people are in a position to help fund our future, please make a donation, join our membership scheme, become a patron or support now in any way you can.”
The building is now expected to reopen in late autumn, with One Man, Two Guvnors rescheduled for summer 2021.
Other events and one-night shows due to take place before December will be re-scheduled for 2021 wherever possible.
Its opening production is now expected to be its new adaptation of A Christmas Carol, in November.
Octagon chief executive Roddy Gauld said: “The building cannot be finished on the previously announced schedule, so we’ve taken the unavoidable step of moving One Man, Two Guvnors to next year and unfortunately cancelling Marvellous.”
He added: “We believe our first production will now be A Christmas Carol, and I can’t think of a more fitting and compassionate feel good story to tell in this unprecedented year. I want to reassure people: we may be later than originally planned, but we will be back. And once the lockdown is over, I hope people will look forward to a fantastic night out at the Octagon again.”
In the largest redevelopment in its 50-year history, the Octagon’s building will be enlarged and modernised as part of the overhaul.
The main space will become a flexible auditorium and two multi-purpose studios will be added.