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The Octagon Theatre, led by Artistic Director and head of New Writing Elizabeth Newman, is searching for new writers to take part in their annual celebration of exceptional local talent, The Best of Bolton.

Whether first entries or final drafts, the theatre’s New Writing department is eager to receive poetry, prose, dramatic monologues, radio plays, short stories and scripts from local writers. Successful entries will be selected by Elizabeth Newman, who will direct professional actors in the main auditorium in matinee and evening performances of the work on Saturday 7 November.

In addition, the Best of Bolton enactments will be complemented by performances from Bolton International Writing Project; an organisation dedicated to creating cross-cultural links and celebrating the diversity of languages spoken in Bolton. Performances will include recitals in both English and mother-tongue languages, and moving interpretations of written work as art, dance, music and drama.

Chair of Bolton International Writing Project, James Hartnell, commented: “It is a great pleasure to be working with the Octagon on this ground-breaking event where we will hear readings in a wide range of languages and see how that work has been developed by local artists.”

In addition to working with creative new talent to showcase their work and bring stories to life, The Best of Bolton will give writers the chance to gain invaluable professional feedback from writers and theatre-makers.

Past winners include Joan Washbrook, whose entry The Torch was her first attempt at putting pen to paper, having been inspired when reminiscing over her father’s storytelling abilities, and Rosie Adamson-Clark, who has written and occasionally published work, since she was a child. As someone with a disability Rosie, whose winning piece was titled Our Linda – Sweet Charity, previously commented that her creativity and imagination is useful as it can take her anywhere.

Speaking of the event, Elizabeth Newman said: “We are keen to receive as many submissions as possible, because we want to produce more new work this year! We’re opening our theatre to new work from everyone – experience isn’t required; anyone who has written a piece, whether it’s their first or five- hundredth, is welcome to submit it. It’s a real opportunity to celebrate Bolton and our northern communities, and this event is particularly exciting as it will be our first year creating The Best of Bolton in our main auditorium with professional actors.”

Open to the whole of Bolton, submissions can include poetry, prose or drama. Submissions MUST be limited to three minutes in length and accompanied by a short biography of the writer, no longer than 50 words.

The closing date for all entries is Monday 12 October; no submissions will be accepted after this date. In the interests of the environment the Octagon encourages that all entries be sent by email where possible.

Send your entries by email to literary@octagonbolton.co.uk or by post to Wesley Pearce, Octagon Theatre ,Bolton, Howell Croft South, Bolton BL1 1SB.

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