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CITIZENS THEATRE

WHERE IS IT? On Gorbals Street, just south of the Sheriff Court and the Glasgow Central Mosque.

One of four theatres in Glasgow at that time to be situated south of the River Clyde, the Victorian building first opened its doors in 1878, first as His Majesty’s Theatre.

The theatre went bankrupt soon after when a performing elephant panicked, causing a stampede and riot to ensue. It reopened two years later as the Royal Princesses Theatre. The Citizens Theatre Company was founded fifty-five years later in 1943 by dramatists James Bridie and Paul Vincent Carroll and gallery director Tom Honeyman, and soon after moved into the building, changing its name. The theatre has undergone some surgery over the century, but its original design was drawn up by Campbell Douglas, a friend of the more famous Alexander 'Greek' Thomson.  Douglas contribution to Glasgow and the surrounding areas was greater than Thomson’s, having designed numerous buildings, the majority of them churches and schools.

 

Since it was rechristened the Citizens, the theatre has tried to remain accessible to all those living in the city. In the 1970s it caused controversy by offering free tickets to trade unionists, seen as a sign of solidarity with the Labour movement. More recently, the theatre strives to keep ticket prices low, especially for children, whom it actively involves in productions through its TAG (Theatre Around Glasgow) group.

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