In 2017 we partnered with the Octagon Theatre, it was an easy and exciting decision to make for us because it’s a huge part of the Bolton community and something that we’re always proud to be a part of.
The Octagon Theatre opened in Bolton town centre in 1967 and has been producing brilliant productions ever since. The home of the theatre is currently undergoing a renovation and we can’t wait to see what it looks like in 2020 when it reopens again. In the meantime, it’s going on tour – you’ll find out more about that in this post.
We’ve had a chat with Alex Joynes, Artistic Assistant Director at the Octagon Theatre to find out a little more about the history of the theatre, its place in Bolton and its work within the community.
- How many shows has the Octagon produced since it opened?
So far, the Octagon has presented 505 productions in the 50 years since it opened in 1967. The first production at the Octagon was Annie and Fanny by Bill Naughton – a playwright from Bolton who also wrote The Family Way and Alfie. The 500th production was A Christmas Carol which broke our Box Office records for selling the most tickets for any show.
- Which well-known faces have worked at the Octagon over the years?
The Octagon has seen many artists of all capacities working together to make theatre in Bolton. Jim Cartwright’s Two premiered at the Octagon featuring Sue Johnston and John McArdle. Deborah McAndrew and Les Smith have both been part of the Octagon over the years – Deborah as actor and writer. Vicky Featherstone was a director here, too – she now runs the Royal Court Theatre in London. Actors including Maxine Peake, Andy Serkis and Robert Powell have performed at the theatre over the years.
- What’s been your proudest moment while working at the Octagon Theatre?
Ben Occhipinti and myself had the opportunity to interview Alan Bennett when Ben was directing Talking Heads. He was fascinating to talk to and shared so many great memories from his career. Working on our community production of The Railway Children was also a highlight – it involved 95 young people from across Bolton working with professional actors. It was such fun.
- Many people don’t know what the Octagon Theatre is a charity, can you tell us more about that?
We believe that theatre can enrich a community and change peoples’ lives for the better. We aim to do this through creating a range of entertaining and thought-provoking theatre that inspires and ignites the curiosity of people in Bolton. We provide opportunities for learning and participation to enable people to realise their potential and express themselves, whether they are 5 years old or over 50. This could be through one of our weekly theatre groups or on one of our Open Days, when special events and workshops take place throughout the building.
- What are you excited about for the future of the Octagon in Bolton?
It’s a very exciting time for the future of the Octagon Theatre as the building is currently undergoing a redevelopment to make our 50-year-old building more accessible. The building will reopen in 2020 with better facilities to welcome all artists and audiences and we’ll have more space for our community work. We’re currently looking forward to our Out and About season where we’re taking theatre on the road to different locations in Bolton – our next production, Gulliver’s Travels, will take place in Queens Park. Carrs Pasties will be onsite providing refreshments – I’ll be sure to have a pasty or two!
The Octagon Theatre’s next production is Gulliver’s Travels at Queens Park – if you can’t wait to see it and you fancy trying to win some free tickets keep an eye on our Facebook page over the next few weeks!
We can’t wait to see what the Octagon Bolton has in store for the future!
We’ve been making pasties since 1938 which means we’ve seen pasties eaten with a variety of food, the choices of what to eat your pasty with are endless So, if you ever feel like changing up your pasty eating regime, here are five ways you can eat a Carrs Pasty.
On its own
Just a pasty, on its own, with no fuss. Perfect if you’re on the go and looking for a quick snack, or if you’re at home and you fancy something to eat with a brew. Our pasties are made so that they can be enjoyed on their own or when paired with other foods. So, if that’s how you like them, don’t worry, we like them like that too.
- With sauce
There is a lot of debate about which sauce is the right sauce to have with a pasty – it has even been known to divide friendships (not something we advise). Many people love it with ketchup (that’s red sauce for some of you), others prefer it with brown sauce (HP or Daddies is a separate debate entirely). Of course, then there are the people that enjoy their pasties with salad cream or mayo. Other suggestions you could try are HP Fruity Sauce, Hot Sauce or mint sauce.
- A pasty barm
A pasty barm (bap, cob, barm cake) is a true Bolton delicacy. It’s something that confuses people who aren’t from Bolton – until they try it and realise that although it is double carbs and probably a little bit of a weird combo – it’s delicious. Now, there are many combinations for pasty barms – do you go for our original meat and potato pasty? Do you spice it up a little with our cheese and jalapeño pasty or do you keep it simple with a cheese or steak pasty? Then of course, there’s the condiments – salad cream, ketchup, mayo, butter? The choice is yours.
- Peas and gravy
If you want a proper hearty meal, then there’s only one thing for it. Pasty, peas, and gravy. It’s got to be mushy peas, of course and you can even add a little bit of red cabbage if you want something extra. It’s always a winning tea with the family – and the peas and red cabbage count as two of your five-a-day!
- With another pasty
Now this isn’t for everyone, but for some people one pasty just isn’t enough, so they have two. And sometimes, that’s okay.
Other combos you could try if you’re feeling adventurous are:
- Baked beans
What do you eat your pasties with? Let us know in the comments below.
It was our second year at the famous Bolton Beer Festival and as expected – it was fantastic.
The event is held at the premier suite at the Macron Stadium and has over 200 beers and ciders available in addition to wines, gins and plenty of fizz. We sold our famous meat and potato pasties, cheese pasties and steak pasties, as well as our new cheese and jalapeño pasties, pasty barms and pasty and peas. All perfect with a pint!
We were there every day from Wednesday to Saturday and every day our pasties were met with such a brilliant response, with people genuinely happy to see us there and excited to eat our products. We’re hoping it wasn’t the beer talking…
We enjoy doing events like this because it means that we get to speak to lots of you and we get to hear your feedback which is useful to us. It’s important to us to hear which of our products is your favourite and what you would improve about each of them. Our new cheese and jalapeño pasties went down a treat at the Bolton Beer Festival and pasty barms were a firm favourite. We love seeing people who aren’t from Bolton try a pasty barm for the first time – it might sound like a weird combo if you’re not a Boltonian but it’s definitely delicious and always goes down well.
Wednesday was launch night and Sponsor’s Hour from 6-7, although there was beer tasting and judging from 10am so lots of people were in need of a pasty by 6pm – so much so that we had people queuing before the pasties even arrived!
Thursday was fairly quiet – the England game was on and people were saving themselves for the weekend but we still sold out of pasties and it was still a great atmosphere.
Friday and Saturday were chock-a-block with people enjoying themselves, trying different beers and ciders (some were as high as 11%, so there were probably some sore heads). The bands were brilliant too, getting everyone up dancing and playing songs that we all know and love. Silk Group’s #silkybeerselfie gave people the opportunity to take some fab pictures and to be in with a chance of winning a phone case (unfortunately we didn’t win).
Although the Bolton Beer Festival is full of fun and we love doing it there’s also an important reason behind the event. All profits made from the event go to Bolton Lad’s and Girls Club, a fantastic club in Bolton that does so much to help young people aged 8-19. The funds will help to keep Bolton Lads and Girls Club open for the young people who can take part in activities, sports and have a safe place to go. We’re patrons of the club and we couldn’t be prouder.
We can’t wait to see you all at next year’s festival!
Did you go to the Bolton Beer Festival this year? What was your favourite drink on offer?
On Friday 22 September 2017 we opened our brand new bakery shop. It took a lot of planning and preparation (as you can imagine) but we are so pleased with the end results.
Our bakery shop hasn’t been refurbished since it opened in 1975. So after 42 years, we decided that it needed to be bigger, brighter and it deserved a modern makeover.
When the car wash next door to our bakery went up for sale, we immediately saw an opportunity – it was the perfect place for our new shop – the right size and located next to our bakery.
We enlisted the help of local Bolton companies to work on the shop – there’s so much talent within Bolton that there was no need for us to look elsewhere. We would like to thank all our project partners for their hard work on the shop – it’s been a pleasure working with such talented and enthusiastic people.
We wanted the new shop to be big enough so that customers wouldn’t have to queue outside (sometimes people even queued in the rain). We wanted to have enough room to display our products in the shop too so that customers can see what delicious products we sell.
After months of hard work we opened the doors to our new bakery shop on Friday 22 at 10am. It was humbling to see customers queuing up early for the opening. The shop was opened by the chairman, John Carr and our longest serving member of staff, Julie Gorse.
How did we celebrate?
To celebrate our opening we gave our first 250 customers a free pasty voucher on both Friday and Saturday which went down a treat. We also had a brilliant band – The King Brasstards play on Friday which made everyone who walked past smile and it created a great atmosphere on Manchester Road throughout the day!
Thank you to everyone who came down for the opening weekend and to everyone who has wished us well on social media – we hope you’re as pleased with the new shop as we are.
If you do have any feedback on our products or our shops please let us know, it’s important for us to hear what our customers think.
It’s been a week since the Bolton Food and Drink Festival and we’ve just about got over the buzz of the weekend.
With the train station closed and the summer making a very brief appearance we didn’t know if the festival would be as busy as previous years – but it was even busier – 267,000 travelled from all over the North West to attend, which is a record! The town was filled with fabulous stalls showcasing a variety of food and drink such as churros, paella, pizzas, flavoured gin, beers and wine. There was also live music and a beer tent at Le Mans Crescent which was packed every day with people enjoying the sunshine (hooray for the summer which decided to make an appearance for the weekend).
After the success of last year’s festival we wanted to really make a splash this year, we were lucky enough to have two stalls, one on Victoria Square and then another on Le Mans Crescent next to the main stage. Our fantastic pie warmer display stood out and then our Carrs Pasties flags looked brilliant blowing in the wind. You couldn’t miss our tent at Le Mans Crescent either with it’s yellow and brown stripes!
As many of you will know we created some very special pasties for the festival – and they went down a treat. The cheese and jalapeno were definitely the favourite, but the lamb vindaloo were also very popular and people were pleasantly surprised by how delicious and flavoursome the new vegetable pasties were. All in all – the festival pasties were a great success!
The special events this year really catered for everyone, we were very lucky to be asked to do an event with celebrity chef Simon Rimmer where we worked together to create the lamb vindaloo pasty. Simon Rimmer and Matt Carr also hosted the Beer and Pasty tasting event which was great fun – lots of delicious beers to try which had been specially matched to our 6 different pasty flavours. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was magical and the perfect event for children during the bank holiday weekend – filled with activities, characters, food and the unbelievable cake made by Kaykes on Manchester Road. We even got to meet Ainsley Harriott who popped over to our stall to taste our cheese and jalapeno pasties!
The entertainment at the Bolton Food and Drink Festival is always so good, the acts all look the part and they really engage the audience which makes for a brilliant atmosphere across the weekend. Then of course the bands on the main stage were excellent and put on amazing shows which had everyone up dancing.
In a nutshell, the Bolton Food and Drink Festival can only be described as fantastic! Thank you all for a brilliant bank holiday weekend.
What did you enjoy at the Bolton Food and Drink Festival? Let us know in the comments below.
‘Tis the season to be jolly!
Here’s when you can get yourself a Carrs Pasty over the Christmas period. We’ve listed the Christmas opening times for each of our shops below. If you’d like to collect a dozen or more pasties please call us on 01204 387 117 and we’ll have them ready for you when you arrive at your chosen shop. Perfect for Christmas party food!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!
This year we took part in our first ever food festival, but it wasn’t any old food festival – it was the famous Bolton Food and Drink Festival. Festival organisers hoped for 200,000 people, but this year it welcomed a whopping 250,000 visitors to the town centre where there are stalls, activities and entertainment available over the course of the August bank holiday weekend. And it was fantastic!
While the actual event is the fun part, it takes months of planning to take part in a food festival, from choosing which products to sell, to finding staff that want to take part – there’s a lot to think about.
Then of course, there’s the set-up process. We went down to our stall on Thursday afternoon where it took a few hours to set up our equipment, ensuring that everything was sparkling clean and in the right place ready for the start of the festival on Friday.
Keith O’Hara, also known as Frank the Pasty Man, also known as Festival Manager was on the stall every day ensuring everything was running smoothly and of course, taking time to pose for the occasional picture…
Friday was our first day, we had Sue and Linzi serving and we didn’t know what to expect from the day, but the weather was beautiful and the atmosphere kicked off the festival perfectly. It was definitely busier than we expected, and with so much fantastic food available – such as paella, burgers and cakes, it was great to see that people still wanted to eat our pasties. We sold our first pasty at 10am on the dot! Of course, it wouldn’t be right to attend such a famous food festival without trying some of the food on offer, would it? We had some delicious churros which were covered in melted chocolate, fresh whipped cream and strawberries. We also met celebrity TV chef Michael Caines MBE which was very exciting!
Saturday was a fantastic day, with Joe and Joanna serving on the stall it was busy from the very start and we didn’t stop serving pasties all day. The atmosphere was great with plenty of entertainment throughout the day – Joe even got involved in some dancing. It rained a little in the afternoon but that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, we still had a great time.
After two excellent days, Sunday didn’t disappoint, we had Helen, Katie and Vanessa on the stall, Helen’s daughter Poppy helped out too and what a star she was! We also got some fancy new bunting which we loved – although as you can see from the pictures it didn’t exactly stay in place.
Bank holiday Monday was brilliant. We had Julie (who’s worked for Carrs Pasties for nearly 40 years), Nicole and Laura on the stall and we sold more pasties than any other day so it was super busy. We also had some tasty pizza from Stateside Foods and some Ferrero Roche Flavour ice cream from Holden’s Ice Cream to cool us down.
We handed out tastings on each day which all went down a treat with festival visitors and it was good to see what people who’d never tried our pasties thought of our products.
So what did we think?
We had a fantastic four days, it couldn’t have gone better for us. We loved every minute of it and we’re so sad that it’s over now.
Our best bits?
Meeting the talented celebrity TV chef Michael Caines MBE, dancing with the fabulous waiters of Mark Mark Productions and of course, seeing all of you!
Will we do it again?
Absolutely, we’d love to do it next year, bigger and better.
Our busiest day?
All four days were busier than we expected them to be but Monday was by far the busiest. We had sold out of pasties and sausage rolls at the end of the day!
Overall, we had an amazing four days and we want to say thank you to everyone that visited our stall. We hope you all enjoyed the weekend as much as we did!
Did you attend this year’s food and drink festival? What was your favourite part?