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Our statues part 3 - from restoration to glorious return

Graham Sutherland, our Head of Production, has documented one of the key parts of our Building Redevelopment – the Citizens Theatre’s famous statues – which have been carefully restored as part of the project. 

Over the weekend of 19-20 August 2023, our six iconic statues returned to the roof of the theatre; a momentous milestone on site. An incredible amount of teamwork went into the historic lift which was months in its preparation. Scottish sculptor, David J Mitchell, visited the site to give the statues a final tidy-up before their big moment. 

A group of six stone statues are standing in a car park outside the Citizens Theatre building site

Project contractors Kier brought in a specialist lifting team, Synergy, (and a very big crane!).

Along with some very enthusiastic support from Citz staff, Gorbals residents and onlookers walking along Gorbals Street, the statues were lifted safely into position. Even the Glasgow weather behaved, despite threats of high winds in the morning. 

Guardians of art and community 

For many, the Citz statues are more than just ornaments or parts of a building. They are woven into the memories of countless theatregoers and local residents – whether you remember them from the joint façade with the Palace Theatre, or from brushing past them in the Citz foyer whilst getting a pre-show drink.

Once building work is complete, the statues will sit alongside pink neon and black brick – blending the new with the old in a way that seamlessly marries our heritage with a contemporary and exciting future. Our redevelopment will deliver spaces and experiences full of character which reflect the unique nature of the theatre building and company. 

For decades, the statues have stood as witnesses to the captivating performances, laughter of friends, and shared moments between strangers that we have hosted. As they regain their rightful positions atop the newly redeveloped building, they rekindle their role as guardians, watching over actors, audiences, and the lively, ever evolving Gorbals landscape. 

A wide shot of a statue being lowered onto the Citizens Theatre roof via a crane. The statue is hovering above the building.
A statue being lowered onto the roof of the Citizens Theatre. Two have already been placed. The theatre's name appears in large lettering behind the statues.
The statues preparing to be lifted onto the roof. People in hi-viz vests are securing the crane onto one of the statues.

An ensemble on the roof 

The six stone statues, lovingly restored, include the Greek goddesses Melpomene, Thalia, Euterpe, and Terpsichore – representing tragedy, comedy, poetry and song, and dance. The quartet is joined by the literary giants Robert Burns and William Shakespeare. Together, the statues represent the rich artistic expression that has been part of the theatre since its inception in 1878. You can read more about the history of the statues which have survived fire and demolition in part 1 of our Statues series.

Preserving Heritage, Expanding Access 

The redevelopment not only safeguards our beautiful theatre’s history, but also enhances accessibility and secures its future for generations to come. Original Victorian features, including the paint frame and rare nineteenth-century stage machinery, will soon be accessible to view by visitors, allowing them to engage with our theatre’s past in a more immersive way. 


The Citizens Theatre redevelopment building site, two men in high-vis clothing are standing on scaffolding in front of three historic statues on the roof of the theatre. In the background, you can see a main road and construction across the road.

We are incredibly proud to have been part of this moment of Citz history by honouring its past whilst also looking forward to inviting audiences and visitors to engage with us in the future in new and exciting ways. 

We are committed to ensuring that the Citz is a place where everyone can play a part. But we can’t do it without your support. It’s your generosity that ensures we can present inspirational live theatre alongside a pioneering programme of community work, creating unique cultural experiences that bring lasting benefit to everyone involved.  

Make a donation

A donation to our Theatre Redevelopment is the best way to support the Citizens Theatre.  Your donation will ensure that communities across Glasgow and Scotland can enjoy the magic of theatre in a building that is truly accessible to all. 

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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.

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