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Willmott Dixon gets green light for major theatre revamp

Bolton Council has given Willmott Dixon the green light to start on a major overhaul of the town’s Octagon theatre.

Council planners gave the go-ahead to the project last Friday, which include a partial demolition, extension and refurbishment of the existing building.

Designed by architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS), the project will see Willmott Dixon fully refurbish the theatre’s main auditorium, while reconfiguring and expanding the existing building to include additional back-of-house space, as well as making the building fully accessible.

The contractor will also build an extension including a new box office and entrance foyer at the front of the building, which will link to a new bar on the first floor via a feature staircase.

According to FCBS, the building had “now outgrown its functional needs, in terms of both spaces and quality of provisions”, adding that the “tired” outward appearance would need to be replaced to the make the building “a focus for the creative and cultural industries in the town”.

Willmott Dixon is also acting as cost consultant on the scheme, which is expected to cost £12m and complete in autumn 2019.

Waterman Group is acting as the building services engineer, while Charcoal Blue is the theatre and acoustic consultant.

Anthony Dillon, managing director of Willmott Dixon in the North, said: “We are delighted to be back in Bolton as part of the team that will restore such a cultural landmark.

”Redeveloping buildings to create a lasting benefit for communities is a specialism we are proud of at Willmott Dixon.”

The project follows Willmott Dixon’s 71-week refurbishment of the town’s Grade-II listed Albert Halls, which was completed earlier this year.

The Octagon Theatre also forms part of a £1bn masterplan for the town, which was revealed by the council last week.

The proposals, which are being led by BDP, include 1,800 homes and the creation of 7,400 jobs across five areas of the town by 2030.

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