Bolton takes centre stage as Greater Manchester Town of Culture

Town of Culture
Town of Culture

Bolton officially launched its year as Greater Manchester Town of Culture with a spectacular event at the town’s famous Octagon Theatre.

Performances from the theatre’s production of Little Shop of Horrors were among the highlights of the celebration alongside a showcase of local arts and culture.

Each year, towns across Greater Manchester are invited to bid to become Town of Culture, which comes with a £50,000 grant to support local projects.

Bolton’s winning bid focused on emphasising how culture is the heartbeat of the town, building on the recently launched Cultural Strategy.

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Culture, Cllr Nadeem Ayub, said:

“The opportunity to bid for the Greater Manchester Town of Culture came at a perfect time that tied into our new Cultural Strategy.

“The strategy sets out to further solidify Bolton as a cultural hotspot, where we continue to host and build on our famous events, like the Bolton Food and Drink Festival and the Bolton Film Festival.

“Bolton has a powerful community and voluntary sector, with excellent cultural partnerships.

“Together, we’ve been able to provide an ambitious vision for developing creativity in the borough to complement our new Bolton Brand and Visitor Economy Strategy.

“This has all played a big part in winning this year’s Town of Culture grant, and we’re delighted to use this to help further build up our local arts, heritage, history and film offer.”

Bolton is the fourth place to be named Greater Manchester Town of Culture, following successful programmes in Bury, Stalybridge and Stockport.

The Town of Culture programme was set up by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, in 2019.

Helping choose the bid winner, the Mayor explained why Bolton took the title this year:

"I am absolutely delighted that Bolton has been selected as Greater Manchester's Town of Culture 2024,” he said.

“The bid submitted by Bolton is everything we want a Town of Culture bid to be: ambitious and exciting while being firmly rooted and shining a spotlight on the amazing local talent.

"I'm confident that we'll see the very best of Bolton over the next twelve months and that people will come from far and wide to see what this brilliant town has to offer."

Lotte Wakeham, Artistic Director of the Octagon Theatre said:

“We’re thrilled and very proud that Bolton is the GM Town of Culture 2024.

“The Octagon has always been part of a thriving cultural landscape in Bolton, and this award will help showcase the rich culture of the town.

“We are delighted to be part of this exciting year for Bolton, celebrating the range and diversity of arts and culture this town has to offer.

“This includes Bolton’s first Comedy Festival this summer, launching our affordable ticket scheme and being part of community projects across the borough.”

Bolton Council will be running a year-long series of events and activities in celebration that links with its new Cultural Strategy, helping to create the foundations for how cultural organisations and creative practitioners work together in the future, as well as grow its reputation as a creative, cultural and prosperous town.

Published: 13th May 2024