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Celebrating 20 years of community theatre

Since 1999, we’ve regularly invited non-professional performers from all walks of life to take to our famous stages and be a part of our story. Over the past two decades we’ve produced 50 community productions, taken part in three international festivals and engaged with hundreds of participants.  
 
As part of our 2019 celebrations, participants past and present joined us at Scotland Street School Museum to mark this special anniversary. It was a brilliant opportunity to get together with those who’ve been involved with our community productions and look back at some of our favourite moments. 

Event Highlights – Video

We’ve put together a timeline to highlight some of the stories and most memorable performances over the years. Enjoy a walk down memory lane! 

1999

The first ever Community Company production took place at the Citizens Theatre. Directed by Guy Hollands, Driving Out A Devil was described by The Herald as ‘remarkable’. 

A season listing from 1999 featuring several plays at the Citz, including Driving Out the Devil.

Archives and Special Collections at Glasgow University shared this season listing featuring the show.

2006

The first ever Wicked Christmas was performed in December 2006. The alternative Christmas show became an annual tradition for the Community Company.

Three actors on stage in bright colourful costumes and wigs.

Wicked Christmas 3 in 2008

Two actors on stage. A man in a singlet and an orange tutu holds a finger up to the face on a woman in a nightgown and cardigan.

Wicked Christmas 5 in 2010

2007

Ice Cream Dreams was the Community Company’s first main stage production. 
 
Noreen performed in the show, and remembers:

At first I hesitated as I was very shy and didn’t know what I was up against, but then I said I’d give it a go, which I did and I never looked back since, as it was the best experience of my life.

2008

In 2008 They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? was performed by a cast of professional actors and community actors drawn from the Citizens Community Company, Young Co, Govanhill Community Development Trust and Turning Point Scotland. 
 
One of the participants looks back at the experience: 

hard to believe it was so long ago. Really formative experiences, that time would have been a lot emptier without them.

A large ensemble cast on stage. All are wearing khaki tops and white shorts and a large American flag is seen on the backdrop.

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, Photo by Tim Morozzo

2011

In February 2011, we teamed up with Scottish Opera to present On the Rim of the World. Participant Kris remembers the rehearsals like yesterday:

never a more welcoming and warm-hearted bunch of folk you will meet.

Two actors on stage. A man comforts a young boy in pyjamas.

On the Rim of the World, Photo by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

In March 2011, the Community Company travelled to Rotterdam to take part in the prestigious International Community Arts Festival. 

A group of people standing in line on a stage and waving at the audience. Most are wearing Citizens Theatre t-shirts.

The Community Company at the International Community Arts Festival. Photo by Kees Deenik.

2012

In 2012 we worked with the Scottish Refugee Council on Here We Staya celebration of life, community and music. It brought together people from all across the world including Iran, Afghanistan, Zambia, Uganda and Glasgow.

 

A large group of performers on stage. A woman wearing a colourful headscarf and bright African patterned clothing stands to the side in the foreground.

Our Artistic Director, Dominic Hill, will never forget watching the show in the Circle Studio:

Hearing the stories and songs of refugees seeking a new life in Glasgow was profoundly moving – culminating in the story of Adam Kashmiry, who for the first time stood up and told his story of his flight from Egypt to the Gorbals. An astonishing event.

Adam’s story went on to be adapted into a play in its own right by Frances Poet.

2014

On Common Ground was a major participatory event with Debajehmujig Storytellers, an indigenous theatre group based in Ontario, Canada, as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. It was performed outdoors in the Gorbals Rose Garden. It involved an ensemble of over 100 non-professional actors, singers, musicians and a troupe of volunteers.

Howard Russell was in the audience and remembers the event fondly:

On Common Ground was touching, and the storytelling, music and spectacle a great reflection of our shared values and community across the globe. What I remember most while watching was that everyone involved was beaming, the rain never dampening their spirits. The sense of contentment, companionship, and closeness amongst them all was infectious and inspiring. To this day I wear the wrist band that was my ticket on the day to remind me to aim higher and do what makes me happy.

Two men dressed in traditional First Nations Garb and Two men dressed in Western-style Workmans clothes perform in a park together.
A woman dressed in First Nations traditional garb sings and plays a tambourine-like instrument.
Two men dressed in First Nations traditional garb sit at a kettle over a fire.

2016

The Gorbals Vampire was a new play by Johnny McKnight, inspired by extraordinary real-life events which took place in the Gorbals in the 50s. The main stage production included over 50 community performers. As part of the project we also worked with local people, school children and the general public in a range of workshops, exhibitions and creative writing competitions.

A large ensemble cast on stage, made up of adults dressed in 1950's style children's clothing.

The Gorbals Vampire. Photo by Tim Morozzo.

Marketing Manager Keren loved learning more about the local urban legend: 

We try really hard at the Citz to be an asset for our local community and somewhere they can be proud of. I loved working on The Gorbals Vampire, meeting some of the original protagonists over 60 years later and bringing them together with young people living in the Gorbals today was such a privilege. It made me love our theatre a little bit more!

2018

A Night to Remember marked the final performance at the Citizens Theatre before the building closed for a major redevelopment. The story took audiences back to the building’s origins for an evening of variety!

An ensemble cast on stage consisting of women in period costumes and bonnets, all holding their hands to their mouths as if shouting.

A Night To Remember. Photo by Tim Morozzo.

Despite being temporarily out of our Gorbals home, we’re still deeply rooted in our local community. Head of Development, Kirstie Cusick especially enjoyed taking part in the parade with the Community Collective at the Gorbals Fair in the summer of 2019: 

We were leading the parade this year and it felt great to be part of it in this way.

The Citizens Theatre parading at the Gorbals Fair in 2019. Citz Participate staff are at the front smiling and holding a Citizens Theatre Community Collective banner. A large blue dragon puppet is seen behind them.

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