Some key facts from the history of the Citizens Theatre, the most complete oldest working Victorian Theatre in the UK. This is very much a work in progress and more pictures and information will be added. www.citz.co.uk
Created by citizenstheatre on 17/09/2008
Last updated: 10/08/11 at 17:20
Tags: citz citizens theatre company history victorian drama glasgow gorbals scotland theatrical stage
Although the main auditorium and much of the backstage area is original, the Citizens Theatre has a bright, airy and modern foyer with a bar, coffee bar and free WiFi.
Formed originally as Citizens Theatre for Youth in 1967, TAG went on to become Theatre About Glasgow before commencing work nation-wide and renaming one last time to TAG. TAG re-integrated with the Citizens Theatre around 2005 and produces all of the theatre's work for children and young people. This includes touring production and a wide range of creative learning projects. The photos shows the Citz foyer on the night of the 40th party.
Here's a shot of the Citz foyer in 1996 during a run of Hamlet. You can see the Bard in his current location - surrounded by a very different colour scheme to that used now.
The Citizens Theatre has two black-box studio theatres, the Circle which seats 90-100 (in the round) and the Stalls which seats around 45 on two sides. The photo shows the Studio Theatre in 2007, set up for our weekly drama classes.
Following a roof collapse at the Palace (then a Bingo hall), a demolition order was issued. Citizens staff from the adjoining theatre, secured a stay of execution and were able to rescue the 4 muses, Shakespeare and Burns (all by Mossman) from the roof along with some Nautch Girls and Elephants (by Bertie Crewe) from the interior. In addition the jade-inlaid box office was saved with part given to the People's Palace and the part to London's theatre museum, which also received 2 Nautch Girls and 2 Elephants.
This image was taken pre-1977. No specific date is known. It shows a side view of the Citizens Theatre, which is today blocked from the main road by the Procurator Fiscal's office. The entrance to the run and the stage door (around the corner at the very left of this image) are still today.
In December 1970, the £12,000 annual grant that the Glasgow Corporation gave to the Citizens Theatre was in jeopardy, due to the theatre’s decision to provide free entry to anyone presenting a trade union card
This photos shows the facade of both the Citizens on the left and the Palace on the right (with a bingo sign outside). You can see in this picture the statues on the parapet that are now seen inside the Citizens Theatre.
Initially the Theatre for Youth company, it worked primarily with Secondary schools within a twenty mile radius of Glasgow. Since its work is now Scotland-wide, the company simply goes by the name TAG
James Bridie, founder of Citizens Theatre and Artistic Director, dies of a brain haemorrhage in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on 29th January 1951
The Palace converted to a full time cinema in 1946.
The Royal Princess's was renamed the Citizens Theatre in 1945 to welcome the brand new tenants - the Citizens Theatre Company. The opening show was J.B. Priestly's "Johnson Over Jordan".
The Citizens Theatre officially opened on September 11th 1945 by James Bridie, with the company’s own production of JB Priestley’s Johnson Over Jordan.
Designed by Bertie Crewe, the Palace was converted to a successful music hall in 1904. Eventually, films were shown as well as variety. There was originally seating for 1800 approx. The facade featured sculptures and pillars originally from a bank on Ingram Street. A third home was then found for the parapet sculptures when the Citizens Theatre staff rescued them from the Palace roof in 1977. Also rescued were the Nautch Girls and Elephants visible in this photograph. All of the rescued items are now on view, incorporated into the safe home of the Citizens Theatre foyer: The Four Muses, Shakespeare and Burns (by Mossman) and The Nautch Girls and Elephants (by Crewe).
The Royal Princess's Theatre operated under this name until 1943. Throughout this period, the theatre was famed for Pantos, which ran for an incredible nine months throughout the year. All of which had thirteen letters in the title...
The first performance featured an elephant. The elephant panicked whilst tethered on stage and a riot ensued. The militia had to be called to quell the disturbance which spilled out onto the street. As a result, the theatre closed and did not reopen until 1880.
The Palace was initially used for meetings, musical concerts, temperance meetings etc...
This is a picture of the original Victorian fly system that operates above the main stage. This theatre that went on to become the Royal Princess's in 1880 and the Citizens in 1945, has the oldest, most complete Victorian theatre machinery in the UK. The theatre still has the original machinery under the stage, the fly system and the original paint frame.