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Fun and festivities at the Big Gorbals Fair

June 1st saw the vibrant and much-anticipated Big Gorbals Fair come to life, as people from all around gathered to enjoy a day filled with fun, food, and festivities. Despite the ever-present worry about the Glasgow weather, the sky was blue and the sun shone.

This year’s parade theme was climate resilience.

At 11am, the parade left Crossroads Barn on Abbotsford Place, making its way through Laurieston and weaving through the Gorbals, before finishing at the Piazza in Crown Street. There, Des Clarke officially opened the Fair at 12pm.

The Gorbals Piazza was transformed into a bustling performance zone, featuring a variety of community dance, music, and theatre groups. Regular performers, such as Givin it Laldie, B Fabulous Dance Group and our very own Community Collective, delighted the crowd with their acts.

Neil Packham and Elly Goodman, members of the Citizens Theatre’s Participate Team shared their excitement about the event:

The Gorbals Fair has been a highlight in the Community Collective calendar for 20 plus years and we’re always looking for a way to make an impactful contribution both to the parade and giving that we’re a performance group, to the stage events.

The notion for this years event initiated from Creative Carbon, a project facilitated by the Barn/Crossroads about climate change. We discussed with the visual artist working on the project, Elena May Harris, how she could work with the Community Collective on the visual aspect and we came up with decorating umbrellas…often very useful items to have at the Gorbals Fair!”

Elena visited the group for a session to get the creative juices flowing, and using recycled materials, spent a fantastic afternoon turning something potentially quite dull into beautiful creations. That afternoon the group danced and paraded around the room showing off their creations.

The next stage was developing a performance with the umbrellas.  Experimenting with how they could be used in a variety of ways, the group walked on imaginary tight ropes, created vehicles, hot air balloons, bicycles and trains, culminating in a fantastical garden scene. No spoken word was involved.

After three weeks rehearsal and much pride over their umbrella creations, 21 members of the Collective (along with Citz staff  Neil, Elly, Jamie, Jack and Amanda) met to join the parade. For once it turned out to be a very warm morning and the umbrellas were used to shelter more from the heat than the rain.

Members of the Citizens Theatre Community Collective who participated in the Gorbals Fair performances commented:

What a fabulous glorious, wonderful day. Two days in a row I have been at my happiest and all because of the Community Collective. Who knew putting your quick-change costume on backwards by mistake and looking like a rain cloud could be such fun.

No matter what life throws at me, no matter how downhearted, the Citizens Theatre Community Collective always lifts me and gives me a gift of acceptance and friendship.

The Gorbals Rose Garden buzzed with activities for children and families. From Giggle n Grow’s ‘Move, Dance, Go’ session for youngsters to archery, arts and crafts. There was something for everyone. Over at Blackfriars Primary School, the fun zone featured fairground rides and an inclusive football tournament.

The day also featured emergency services, allowing families to explore their vehicles and learn about their work. For those needing a moment of relaxation, Gorbals Parish Church hosted therapeutic sessions from SEAL, including massage and shiatsu, along with free tea and coffee.

Bringing together the community in a celebration of resilience, hope, and togetherness, The Big Gorbals Fair was a resounding success. We can’t wait until next year!

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