Monday, July 21, 2014

The Citizens' Theatre

Image courtesy The List.co.uk
Today, our company had the pleasure of exploring Glasgow’s “Citizens Theatre,” and from the moment we arrived, it was obvious that this theatre was ripe with history.

Built in 1876, the theater was due for some remodeling. During our tour we got to see the reconstruction of a seating section - this renovation will be careful not to destroy any of the intricate details of the house, including the many red and gold figures and reliefs that personify various styles of theatrical art.

Our tour took us behind, above, and even below the stage as we explored the various crafting areas (rehearsal spaces, wardrobe rooms, and prop storage areas) as well as the old machinery in the bowels of the theatre. Altogether, this theatre is the perfect monument to the eternal and colorful vitality of theatre.

A conversation with Artistic Director, Dominic Hill, revealed that the truly impressive component of this theatre is not its mechanics, but its dedication to the public. The Citizens Theatre was once called the Royal Princess Theatre, and proudly displays an old window heralding that chapter in its history in the Dress Circle Lounge above the foyer, paying tribute to the old elegance of the venue.
In 1940, the Citizens Theatre Company was forged to provide affordable theatre to all social classes. Today, the Citizens Theatre upholds their foundational tradition of providing free previews and programs to its audiences and offering the best theatre experience for the lowest price, in addition to amazing work with minority groups and the regular citizens of Scotland.

The Citizens Theatre was a fantastic stop on our trek through Scotland as it gave each of us a reminder of the spirit of theatre. The stage is not a pedestal for actors and designers; it is not a screen for audiences to merely watch and be entertained. Rather, it is a place to gather communities to unite in shared laughter, grief, silence, and applause. That is the pride and the power of the Citizens Theatre.


-Caleb Wright

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