Report on two showcases at The Octagon Theatre 7.11.15

For the matinee a total of 275 people were present including 18 participants, 7 BIWP staff, 10 hired performers and 14 Octagon staff. Similar numbers applied for the evening performance but the audience was slightly smaller giving a total of 213 people.

This was the first ever co-production between BIWP and The Octagon and the two performances drew large audiences. In the past, this event, known as the Best Of Bolton, has been patronised by writers, almost all white Boltonians, with an audience of less than half the size of what we achieved this time and held in the main auditorium instead of the studio.

BIWP and Bolton At Home financed tickets for a substantial contingent of Congolese families to come to the event in the afternoon and BIWP further financed tickets for 120 refugees and asylum seekers to make their first ever theatre visit.

Most of those present welcomed the new format. One or two were not happy but to be fair they didn’t like anything else and demonstrated their unawareness of the year’s advertising that preceded the event.

BIWP participants read in Albanian, Polish, Swahili, Arabic, Romanian, Bulgarian, Farsi, Nepali, Tigrinya and Russian with translations in English. Dan Lever played a Bossa Nova he had written based on a Spanish poem. The Smile of Hope performed a variety of dances including a particularly moving interpretation of a Tigrinya story.