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Six people on a tour of the Citizens Theatre building redevelopment. They are dressed in high vis vests and hard hats. They are standing on a balcony with scaffolding around them.

Our transformation

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Why the building redevelopment was needed 

Our iconic building had fallen into disrepair and was no longer fit for purpose.

We wanted our theatre to be accessible to everyone while retaining its unique Victorian features.

This project is the first comprehensive redevelopment of the building since it began life as a working theatre in 1878. It will secure its future for the people of Glasgow for generations to come.

The redevelopment will:

  • Preserve the original Victorian auditorium and open up our rich history.  
  • Remove barriers and improve inclusion throughout the building. 
  • Create welcoming social spaces. 
  • Deliver new rehearsal, participation and studio spaces. 
  • Improve backstage facilities and artist accommodation. 
  • Make the building more sustainable and future-proofed with the climate emergency in mind.   

We expect that the theatre will reopen in spring 2025. Explore some of the new spaces in the redeveloped building.

Architect's rendering of the new redeveloped exterior of the Citizens Theatre. The building features a new facade with black cladding, neon pink lettering, and a row of statues on the roof.

It was never a vanity project. It was always something that had to be done to protect the future of the building.

Dominic Hill in The Sunday Post 

What the redevelopment means

Side view of a row of seats at the Citizens Theatre auditorium.

For audiences

From a welcoming new foyer to better sightlines in the auditorium, the transformation will be felt throughout the redeveloped building. Improved access and enhanced facilities mean that even more people will be able to enjoy the theatre.  

A man wearing plastic protective glasses, a blue hard hat and a yellow high visibility vest looks out of a window

For artists

The reopening of the Citizens Theatre means we can build closer and more meaningful relationships with Glasgow-based artists and companies.  

Our new multi-purpose 152-seat studio offers exciting possibilities. It will allow us to accommodate more performances than ever before and champion a new generation of emerging theatre makers.

This building truly feels like an offer to all of us and to all the new kids on the block to believe, imagine and create.

Maryam Hamidi, Playwright & Actor

A stage show. Women wearing striped tops and floral swimming caps. They are standing in row with their arms outstreched.

For participants

While we’ve continued to work with groups across the city, nothing beats welcoming participants into our own building and onto our famous stage. Our adaptable and accessible new spaces mean we’ll be able to work with even more people. 

A crowd is gathered on the street watching an outdoor performance.

For the city

The new building will be a vibrant hub at the heart of our Gorbals community. It’s a space to inspire and empower 

The Citizens Theatre represents the best of Glasgow... It makes art and drama feel, as it should, like a vital voice, culturally, socially and politically.

Paul McNamee, UK Editor of the Big Issue and Chair of Citizens Theatre Board

Key moments on our journey so far

Building the vision

We worked with architects Bennetts Associates on plans for the new building. The Edinburgh and London based company has a leading reputation for performing arts and civic projects.  

An artist's impression of the outside of the newly redeveloped Citizens Theatre building.
Artist's impression of the foyer of the new Citizens Theatre building. Lots of different people are standing in the space. There is a large pink stair case to the left and a blonde sandstone wall to the right.

The project will deliver spaces and experiences full of character reflecting the unique and idiosyncratic nature of the Citz. Much of the hidden world behind the scenes will be accessible to audiences and visitors for the first time.

James Nelmes, Director, Bennetts Associates 

Goodbye event 

Before we closed our doors, we welcomed the people of Glasgow to the theatre for a unique public event.

The Citz community came together to celebrate all that this special building means to us. 

Visitors had the chance to grab a memento in a sale of costumes and theatrical items, share their memories of the theatre and explore plans for the new building.

I think of this building like a rock in the community – it stands out like a lighthouse in the middle of the area. 

Participant at the Moving Out Event, 2018 

Breaking ground 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined Leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken to mark work starting on site.   

 

Susan Aitken, Nicola Sturgeon and April Chamberlain standing outside the Citizens Theatre. They are wearing hard hats and high-vis vests and holding a large sheet of paper with illustrations of the new building on. A digger is visible behind them.

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. It has a very special place in Scotland’s cultural landscape.

Nicola Sturgeon

Demolition began

By October 2019 demolition was well underway and it was exciting to see big changes on site at 119 Gorbals Street.  

Large sections of the foyer and administration offices were removed – making way for bigger, brighter contemporary spaces.  Read more about this process. 

Demolition of our theatre building, with the Victorian auditorium in the background.

Our famous statues were restored by Scottish sculptor David J Mitchell 

Burns, Shakespeare and the four goddesses have welcomed audiences for decades. Over the years, however, they’d become worn and damaged and needed substantial restoration. It was heartening to see the statues returned to their former glory. Learn more about our historic statues.

The new fly tower was installed on site 

One of the most technically complex moments in the building redevelopment! It was thrilling to see the 70 tonne structure lifted on an enormous crane, carried across the car park at a great height and placed safely on top of the historic building. 

Our old flying system was in desperate need of modernisation. Read more about the new fly tower and what it means for the theatre.

Watch some dramatic footage from the day

Our six iconic statues were returned to the roof of the theatre

The famous figures are now back, creating a dramatic new focal point for Gorbals Street. An exciting moment on our journey back home – and in the wider regeneration of our local area.  

Hear from some of the team there on this exciting day

They’ve seen the social history of the Gorbals. They’ve seen the landscape of the Gorbals change. They’ve seen the audience come and go… They’ve seen actors come and go into the theatre… They’re going to go back onto the roof of the theatre and see a whole new Gorbals.

Neil Packham, Community Drama Director, on the statues.   

Countdown to reopening 

As work continues apace, it’s exciting to start planning our opening programme. In early 2024, we welcomed some of the writers commissioned to develop plays for the theatre on a site tour. They shared a first glimpse at the new spaces including improved backstage areas and the new multi-purpose Studio Theatre. We can’t wait until the building is alive with their work! 

A group of people standing outside the Citizens Theatre building redevelopment. They are wearing high-vis vests and PPE. They are all smiling at the camera.

FAQs 

Your frequently asked questions about our building redevelopment 

When will the theatre reopen? 

We expect that the theatre will reopen in 2025– keep an eye on our social channels for all the latest information. 

Can I view a seating plan and buy tickets? 

Not just yet. We are preparing behind the scenes and tickets for our opening season will go on sale later this year.

How can I support the redevelopment? 

We’d love it if you could help us – find out more in our Support section. 

Redevelopment project team  

Architects
Bennetts Associates 

Contractor
Kier Construction Ltd  

Structural Engineer
Struer Consulting Engineers 

Project Advisor
Pacific Partners LLP

M&E Services Engineer
Max Fordham 

Quantity Surveyor
Turner Townsend 

Theatre Consultant
TheatrePlan 

Acoustician
Sandy Brown Associates 

 

Interpretation Design Consultant
Nomad Exhibitions 

Fire Engineer
Atelier 10 

Clerk of Works
Sentinel Clerk of Works Ltd 

 

Supporters

The redevelopment of the Citizens Theatre building is made possible by our project funders.

Thanks to our public funders who share our vision. Thanks also to the many charitable trusts and foundations who have generously supported the project.

You can view the full list of organisations on our supporters page.

Support our building redevelopment

Secure the future of our iconic Gorbals home.

Select an amount to donate
Select an amount to donate
A group of people in high vis on site at the Citizens Theatre building redevelopment. You can see the new public spaces around our sandstone Victoriam auditorium
Close up of brick wall

Brick

Highly theatrical production image. A man in a sparkling suit and sunglasses sings into a microphone, while another two actors in colourful clothes stand behind. The stage is hazy and lit in bright green-yellow.

Neon

Explore some of the new spaces in our redeveloped building.