Sat 25 October 2014
For immediate release

The Citizens Theatre has received The Glasgow Life Award from Arts & Business Scotland, in recognition of the significant contribution made to the arts by its Festival 2014 event On Common Ground, a major outdoor community event in the Gorbals.

The Glasgow Life Award was made to the most creative contribution realising the ambition of Festival 2014, part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. The scale of the project, the quality and depth of its reach and engagement with its local community, and its close partnership with another Commonwealth culture led Glasgow Life to select On Common Ground for the award. 

The award was presented at a ceremony in Glasgow in the Theatre Royal last night (Friday 24 October) to the co-directors of On Common Ground Neil Packham and Elly Goodman.

On Common Ground featured 150 community actors, singers and musicians with a further 75 volunteer stewards, production assistants, market researchers, and photographers recruited from across the city to help bring the event together. The show was performed to 1,500 people for free over five evenings in a specially built outdoor arena in the Gorbals Rose Garden in the heart of the area.

The show celebrated Glasgow’s distinctive cultural identity and the changing face of the Gorbals and gave an insight into the history, traditions and beliefs of the Debajehmujig Storytellers, a theatre company based in Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Canada. Performers from Debajehmujig were in the city for a month, helping to create the show, meeting community groups and taking part in the city-wide celebrations around the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Councillor Archie Graham, the Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Like the Cultural Programme itself, On Common Ground was one of the most ambitious productions ever staged by the Citizens Theatre – and that it brought the community within the performance through the streets of the Gorbals, epitomised the very best of Festival 2014.

“The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games were the best ever, because as generous hosts we wanted to hear our guests’ stories as much as telling our own. The mesmerising performance, music and story-telling on those long summer evenings in the Gorbals Rose Garden will live long in the memory of Glasgow’s moment in the global spotlight.”

Receiving the award Elly Goodman, Community Drama Artist at Citizens Theatre and one of the co-directors of On Common Ground said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Citizens Theatre has been selected to receive this award for On Common Ground. It was the biggest project that we’ve ever undertaken and it was really critical that we were able to create an event with and for the people of the Gorbals at a time when the world’s attention was focussed on Glasgow. In addition to being a fantastic project for the community, On Common Ground was a great show that brought together music, storytelling dance and drama to tell a powerful and emotional story. 

Neil Packham Community Drama Director and co-director commented: “I am incredibly grateful for the support shown by the huge number of individuals and organisations that helped to make On Common Ground a really special moment during Festival 2014, and am so proud of the commitment that was shown by our volunteers and participants. The ethos of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games inspired so much of this project, and I’m thrilled that Glasgow Life has recognised that with this award.

As well as inclusion in the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, On Common Ground was supported by The Christina May Hendrie Trust.

The Arts & Business Scotland Awards are held annually to recognise partnerships between the cultural and business sectors. Arts & Business Scotland act as a conduit between the sectors, offering incentives to business sponsors, consultancy services, training and advocacy.


For more information, interviews and images, or to request tickets, please contact Keren Nicol, Marketing & Communications Manager .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) / 0141 418 6233. Images of On Common Ground are available to download from the Citizens Theatre flickr feed


The Citizens Theatre’s Learning team has an international reputation for excellence and in the last decade have successfully managed over 1,000 small, medium and large-scale projects working with a wide range of community groups in Glasgow and further afield. They place particular emphasis on work with marginalised groups and disadvantaged communities.
On Common Ground brought together many of the groups and organisations that Citizens’ Learning Team work closely with such as Bridging the Gap, Scottish Refugee Council, Turning Point Scotland, Gorbals-based community music initiative Givin’ it Laldie, supported accommodation organisations, Gorbals Healthy Living Network, Gorbals youth project Way to Go Cafe and Gorbals schools amongst others.

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