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First Minister marks work starting on site at Citizens Theatre redevelopment

Published: 06 Sep 2019

Susan Aitken, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and April Chamberlain stand at the site of Citizens Theatre

Today, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon joined Leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken to mark work starting on site for a major redevelopment of the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. The redeveloped building will transform the experiences of audiences, participants and performers and secure the future of one of Scotland’s most iconic buildings and leading producing theatres.

The project designed by Bennetts Associates will be the most comprehensive redevelopment of the category B listed building in its 140-year history, re-designing an ageing and vulnerable building into a vibrant cultural venue for communities across Scotland. Constructed by Kier Regional Building, it will deliver improved accessibility, secure the heritage of its unique Victorian features and offer new bar and café facilities as well as rehearsal, learning and studio spaces.

The redevelopment is a 2-year construction project. The building will re-open in 2021.

Key funders of the circa £21.5 million project include the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Creative Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland. The Citizens Theatre’s fundraising campaign continues to secure donations from a variety of trusts and foundations and individuals.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister said: “The Citizens Theatre is more than just a building. Over its 140 years it has hosted performers, welcomed audiences and been a genuine hub for the Gorbals community. The Citizens Theatre has a very special place in Scotland’s cultural landscape and I am delighted that, thanks to this joint investment including £4.5m from the Scottish Government, its future has been secured for generations to come.”

Iain Munro, Acting Chief Executive, Creative Scotland said: “The Citizens’ is one of Scotland’s most iconic theatre venues with innovation and excellence at its heart. With a significant international reputation, it is firmly rooted in the local community and with the support of £1.5m National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland, the Citizens Theatre can confidently look ahead to a new future as the cultural heart of the Laurieston regeneration project.”

Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The Citz is part of the very foundations of Glasgow’s cultural life, but also renowned and valued across the world for its stage productions and its community and education programmes. The investment made by the council and its partners is essential to ensure all of that work continues in the theatre’s iconic Gorbals home for generations to come – and I’m excited to see that future getting underway today.”

April Chamberlain, Chair, Citizens Theatre said: “Today is a key milestone in the much-needed redevelopment of the Citizens Theatre. Our iconic home in the heart of the Gorbals is known throughout Scotland and the world over, not just for the theatre we make but for our extensive community and participation work. Thanks to the vital support of our funders, the theatre is being secured for theatre-makers, audiences and the people of Glasgow. We can’t wait to move back in and start welcoming them back.”

The Citizens continues to present its work at Tramway and on tour across Scotland while the building is closed. Drama classes and learning activity take place at Scotland Street School Museum.

More information on the redevelopment can be found at wearecitizens.co.uk.

Notes to Editors

The Citizens Theatre is Glasgow’s major producing theatre and one of the leading theatre companies in the UK. Fondly known as the Citz, it has produced world-class theatre in the Gorbals since 1945.

The Citizens has built an international reputation for producing innovative shows on stage, alongside a highly regarded learning programme of participatory and education work. Led by Artistic Director, Dominic Hill and Executive Director, Alex McGowan, it presents bold new interpretations of classic texts – and, uniquely, where any member of the audience can attend a performance for as little as 50p.

Throughout the year, it offers a range of opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in the creative life of the theatre. The theatre has extensive backstage workshop facilities where it makes its own sets and costumes. The Category B listed building opened as His Majesty’s Theatre in 1876 and was also known as the Royal Princesses’ Theatre until the building was first leased to James Bridie’s Citizens Theatre Company in 1945.

The theatre retains many of its Victorian architectural features including historic under-stage machinery and an original paint frame which is still used today. During the redevelopment, the Citizens Theatre will present shows at Tramway and on tour across Scotland with classes and activities based at Scotland Street School Museum. For the latest information about the Citizens Theatre, visit wearecitizens.co.uk.

Current shows:

The Duchess [of Malfi] by Zinnie Harris after John Webster
A Citizens Theatre and Royal Lyceum Theatre co-production
4-21 September, Tramway, Glasgow

Fibres by Frances Poet
A Stellar Quines and Citizens Theatre co-production
On tour across Scotland, 17 October – 2 November