Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Rivals: A note from the Designer

Designer Tom Rogers discusses the development process for his beautiful design for The Rivals, our co-production with Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse. Directed by our very own Artistic Director Dominic Hill, this 18th-century comedy of manners arrives at the Citizens Theatre in November.

When Dominic approached me to design his production of The Rivals it was immediately an exciting prospect. I knew he would bring something fresh and dynamic to this classic text whilst still retaining its heart and timeless appeal.

The Rivals arrives at Citizens Theatre 2 Nov 2016 - citz.co.uk
The Rivals at Bristol Old Vic image by Mark Doucet
Neither of us wanted to dispose of its setting in 1775. It’s very much a play about the social manners of its time, and the late 18th century is a glorious period of indulgence and frivolity to explore visually, particularly in fashion. But we also were keen to explore other design options rather than slavishly re-creating 18th-century Bath and early Georgian interiors.

The play includes many settings and the challenge was to come up with a design that could move swiftly between these, giving enough of a sense of each place but in a mostly non-naturalistic way. The play, with its many asides and broad comedy lends itself to a heightened theatrical approach and this led quite naturally to a design that relies heavily on ‘traditional’ theatre practices such as footlights, perspective portals and painted cloths.

Painted cloths have fallen out of fashion in recent times with limitless possibilities of printing images on vast scales, and theatre design in general taking what might be described as a more ‘conceptual’ approach. It has been one of the joys of this process to put this art at the forefront of the design, utilising the original paint frame of Bristol Old Vic and more importantly the skills and artistry of its resident painters. The interior settings are therefore mostly created using hand-painted cloths depicting either segments of paintings of late 18th-century Bath or enlarged fragments of wallpaper from the period.

The Rivals arrives at Citizens Theatre 2 Nov 2016 - citz.co.uk
The Rivals Tech rehearsal - images by Dominic Hill
The play has the idea of keeping up appearances at its core. This was a time of showing off and dressing up to impress. Many of the scenes of the play are actually set in dressing rooms and this gave us the idea of using costume rails filled with 18th-century clothes as both naturalistic items you might find in these interiors but also as scenic elements clearly visible just offstage and used in a more non-naturalistic way throughout the play. Clothes, therefore, play an important role in The Rivals and the recreation of these lavish late 18th century fashions has been a joy.

Overblown and extravagant, the 1770s is one of the most excessive decades of fashion with its towering wigs, huge skirts, rich fabrics and detailed embellishment. We've been very lucky again to have the amazing skills of the Bristol Costume Services workroom at our disposal. You will see have brought the designs for the women’s costumes to life in a breathtaking way from metres and metres of silk taffeta and dupion, and reams of intricately hand-stitched trimmings.

The Rivals arrives at Citizens Theatre 2 Nov 2016 - citz.co.uk
The Rivals at Bristol Old Vic image by Mark Doucet
Although our production is very much rooted in its original 18th-century setting, we have also made the decision to use a few anachronistic prop and costume elements from later periods. This has brought another level of creative possibilities to the rehearsal room and allowed for the witty use of objects that may not be from 1775 but could have been taken from the props stores of any of the wonderful theatres we are touring to. This is, again, intentionally playing to the play's innate theatricality.

2 - 19 NOV

Friday, 16 September 2016

Trainspotting: Final days in the rehearsal room

Trainspotting's Assistant Director Izzie Turner gives us a unique insight into the rehearsal process for this exciting new production of Irvine Welsh's notorious tale, adapted by Harry Gibson. 

Trainspotting at the Citizens Theatre - citz.co.uk

We're in the final days of being in the rehearsal room for Trainspotting. In just a few day's time we'll be packing up our things and move into the auditorium for next week's technical rehearsals. 

The last 3 weeks of hard work are starting to come together as we piece the play into a whole and start doing full runs. Today it’s all systems go with every member of the team pitching in ideas!

Trainspotting at the Citizens Theatre - citz.co.uk

We begin the day with our favourite game, 4 square- a simple, yet highly competitive ball game that always charges us up for the day ahead and has us laughing and squabbling like siblings!

Next, we start work on the scene "House Arrest". It is a demanding scene, physically and psychologically, that morphs between theatrical styles. It shifts between the domestic, the absurd and the terrifying. The scene also demands a huge amount from Lorn, who plays the principal character, Mark Renton. Despite this, it has been one of the most enjoyable scenes to work on- a true ensemble piece, with every actor involved in its creation and execution. All of us laughing all the way!

Trainspotting at the Citizens Theatre - citz.co.uk

MJ- our sound designer is busy working on some brilliantly textured and nuanced sound effects. It’s intriguing to experience the text layered and punctuated by sound and music- it adds a refreshing dimension to the storytelling. 

Our movement director, EJ works her magic on the scene, using movement choreography and dance to heighten the scene’s sensuality and visualise the physical experience of drug addiction. It’s fascinating to see how a simple physical activity can be magnified and abstracted into beautiful, organic movement. 

Our wonderful director Gareth is creating and managing all of this with a calm, measured eye, making sure that everyone is included and heard. Under Gareth’s direction, the creative process has been highly inclusive and collaborative, which has made it a joy to work on.

Trainspotting at the Citizens Theatre - citz.co.uk

Each day the world of the play becomes a little more fleshed out as a new prop, costume garment or piece of furniture is integrated into rehearsals. Slowly but surely the story is become a living, breathing entity. Costume changes are an integral part: There are multiple characters and only a cast of five to play them all. Gareth has ensured that these changes and transitions are done inventively and are woven into fabric of the production- instead of being a functional activity, they become part of the storytelling.

Trainspotting at the Citizens Theatre - citz.co.uk

It is a privilege to work on Trainspotting. It’s a joyride of a play- equal parts hilarious, thrilling and always irreverent and provocative. The richness of the text and Gareth’s lead in guiding us through it has made the last few weeks brilliantly stimulating. Our magnificent cast - endlessly energetic and imaginative- are taking  this much-loved story to new and thrilling heights. Bring on the technical rehearsals!

14 SEP - 8 OCT

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Cast Announcements for our Autumn 2016 Season

With The Rivals rehearsing in London and our Trainspotting cast arriving later this month, it's not long until our Autumn 2016 season gets under way. Browse our latest season brochure online to see what we've got coming up next:

We've confirmed many of the casts for our Autumn 2016 season, read on to find out more about who's appearing on our famous stage in the coming months.  

30 Aug - 3 Sep

The Glasgow Girls are back in a new production direct from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Among the new cast members, popular singer and actor Terry Neason joins the girls as their determined neighbour Noreen. 

Callum Cuthbertson returns as their inspiring teacher Mr Girvan, while Patricia Panther again lends her unique musical skills to the soundtrack. Returning Glasgow Girls Stephanie McGregor (Ewelina) and Roanna Davidson (Agnesa) are joined by Sophia Lewis (Roza), Aryana Ramkhalawon (Amal), Shannon Swan (Jennifer), Kara Swinney (Emma).

14 Sep - 8 Oct

Having made his Citizens' debut in 2016's This Restless House as Orestes, Lorn Macdonald will play Renton in our new production of Trainspotting. We welcome back Owen Whitelaw (Sleeping Beauty, In Time O' Strife, Slope, King Lear) to play Begbie/Mother Superior and Gavin Jon Wright (Dragon) as Spud. Making their Citizens debut are Angus Miller (Tommy/Sickboy) and Chloe-Ann Tylor.   
Filming for Trainspotting 2 might have just wrapped in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but we took to the streets of Glasgow last week to promote the show.  

18 - 22 Oct

Dundee Rep bring their 2015 five-star sell-out production of this landmark Scottish play to the Citizens, 40 years after it was presented by 7:84. 

Jo Freer
, Irene Macdougall and Emily Winter, Stephen Bangs, Billy Mack, Christina Gordon return to their roles from the acclaimed 2015 production alongside new cast members Ewan Donald and Barrie Hunter.

The upper circle is now available to book for all performances by calling 0141 429 0022 - don't leave it too late!

2 - 19 Nov

Our co-production with Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse promises to be full of big wigs, big frocks, cheeky humour and a healthy dose of scandal and wit.

Julie Legrand makes her long-awaited return to the Citz having performed in the 1980s alongside Rupert Everett, Gary Oldman, Roberta Taylor and Giles Havergal as "pineapple of politeness" Mrs Malaprop. Olivier Award-winner Desmond Barrit plays opposite her as Sir Anthony Absolute, having previously appeared with Julie in Wicked in London's West End. 

We're thrilled to welcome back former Citizens Theatre Actor Intern Jessica Hardwick as Julia. Since her debut as Sonya in Crime and Punishment, Jessica has since appeared in lead roles at the Citz in Lanark: A Life In Three Acts, Slope and Rapunzel and in Miss Julie. The cast also includes Nicholas Bishop (Faulkland), Lucy Briggs-Owen (Lydia Languish), Lily DonovanKeith Dunphy (Sir Lucius O’Trigger), Lee Mengo who appeared in 2014's The Libertine (Bob Acres), Shaun Miller and Rhys Rusbatch (Captain Jack Absolute). 

Tickets for all of our Autumn 2016 shows as well as some newly-announced productions coming in 2017 are on sale now and available to book from our website.

Monday, 13 June 2016

This Restless House & Lanark each scoop a hat-trick at the CATS

After receiving an impressive 12 nominations for the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS)  we're thrilled to have won 6 awards - our biggest haul yet! 

David Greig's adaptation of of Alasdair Gray's Lanark scooped three awards as did Zinnie Harris' epic 5-star retelling of The Oresteia, This Restless House

The CATS are an opportunity for the theatre industry across Scotland to come together and celebrate some of the most successful productions, and best artists over the past 12 months. This year the awards were held in Edinburgh at the Royal Lyceum Theatre and hosted by Citz alumnus Daniela Nardini (Top Girls, 2004) and Still Game's Sanjeev Kohli

Our co-production with National Theatre of Scotland, epic trilogy This Restless House, walked away with Best New Play, Best Female Performance and our Artistic Director Dominic Hill won his 5th CATS award for Best Director - the most any director has won in the CATS' 14-year history. 

Zinnie Harris - This Restless House
CATS Winner 2016: Best New Play - This Restless House - Zinnie Harris

Pauline Knowles  - This Restless House
CATS Winner 2016: Best Female Performance - Pauline Knowles

Dominic Hill - This Restless House
CATS Winner 2016: Best Director - This Restless House - Dominic Hill

Meanwhile our 2015 co-production with Edinburgh International Festival, Lanark: A Life in Three Acts was awarded Best Male Performance, Best Design and Best Technical Presentation. 

Sandy Grierson - Lanark
CATS Winner 2016: Best Male Performance - Sandy Grierson

Laura Hopkins, Nigel Edwards and Simon Wainwright - Lanark
CATS Winner 2016: Best Design - Lanark

CATS Winner 2016: Best Technical Presentation - Lanark

We are very grateful to all the casts and creative teams that have worked with us during 2015-16 to create so many fantastic shows and congratulations to all of the artists whose work in Scotland was recognised by this year's nominations and awards.    

 We're straight on to creating next year's hopeful award-winners, with our Autumn 2016 season now on sale. From Trainspotting, and The Rivals to Hansel & Gretel and the return of Glasgow Girls there's something for everyone!

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Choose Life. Choose the Citizens Theatre.

Well, we couldn't announce our exciting new season without referencing one of the most memorable film openings of all time, could we?

A new stage production of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting headlines our Autumn 2016 season, 22 years after the story first began life as a piece of drama right here at the Citizens Theatre. Read on to find out more about the fantastic shows we've got coming up at your local theatre from August 2016 - January 2017.

GLASGOW GIRLS 30 Aug - 3 Sep
A Pachamama, National Theatre of Scotland, Regular Music and Theatre Royal Stratford East production in association with Richard Jordan Productions and Citizens Theatre

The Glasgow Girls are coming home! The real life story of seven feisty teenagers from Dumchapel High was turned into a high-energy, life-affirming musical by Cora Bissett and David Greig and was first premiered at the Citizens in 2012. Since then, the show's been revived here, shared the stage with Nile Rogers at the Ryder Cup Gala Concert, and will have a run of performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer before coming home.

We are the Glasgow Girls!

A Citizens Theatre production

With a sequel to the Trainspotting film currently in production, here's a chance to experience the original coarse, intense and often hilarious story on the Citizens' stage. Renton, Sick Boy, Begbie and Spud hurtle their way through the darkest backstreets of the heroin scene of Thatcher-era Leith in the generation-defining cult phenomenon. Our Main Stage Director in Residence Gareth Nicholls will direct. We've loved his thoughtful and thought-provoking productions of Into That Darkness, Blackbird and Vanya and can't wait to see his version Trainspotting.

A Dundee Rep production

Dundee Rep's new production of this favourite piece of 20th-century Scottish drama by John McGrath was a sell out in 2015. They're now hitting the road with this fantastic production, and will play at the Citizens Theatre for one week only in October. There's already been huge demand for tickets, so if you fancy joining us for an evening of ceilidh, song, political history and loads of laughs, don't leave it too late to book!

A Citizens Theatre Community production

We'll be welcoming 60 non-professional performers from our community to our stage to recreate the bizarre events that took place at the Southern Necropolis over 60 years ago. One night in September 1954, hundreds of children aged 4 - 14 armed themselves with whatever they could find and began a chaotic hunt through the Gorbals for the mysterious - and fictitious - Gorbals Vampire, or The Man With the Iron Teeth. Johnny McKnight's tongue-in-cheek script brings the dramatic evening back to life.

THE RIVALS 1 - 19 Nov
A Citizens Theare, Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse

Big wigs, big frocks, cheeky humour and plenty of over-the-top silliness. That's what's in store in our production of 18th-century comedy of manners The Rivals. Set in high society Bath, the play bubbles with scandal, wit and intrigue. Our Artistic Director Dominic Hill directs the co-production with Bristol Old Vic, who we last visited in 2014 with The Libertine and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse who we've previously worked with to produce Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme and Crime and Punishment.


Dominic Hill also turns his hand to our Christmas show this season, Hansel and Gretel. A temptingly sweet festive treat, expect plenty of the Citizens' traditional theatrical magic combined with world-class storytelling, suitable for everyone aged 6+.

What are you most excited to see in our new session? Tweet us with #CitzAutumnSeason to let us know! 

Tickets for all productions in our Autumn 2016 season are available now to book online, or by calling our box office on 0141 429 0022. 

Monday, 16 May 2016


The Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) nominations have been announced and we received a whopping 12 nominations this year which must be some sort of record for us, right? Well we dusted off our old photo albums and got out our calculators to bring you the Citz' CATS nominations by numbers. Join us on a number filled trip down memory lane!

71 The number of times Citizens Theatre has been nominated since 2002

14 The number of CATS nominations, Artistic Director Dominic Hill has received 

8 The number of times Dominic Hill has won a CATS Award, the most of any director working in Scotland

12  This year Citizens Theatre has been nominated for twelve awards, the highest number of nominations in a single year in our history. Both Lanark: A Life in Three Acts and This Restless House have been nominated for five awards each including Best Production. There are also two further nominations in the Best Male Performance category for Paul Higgins who played Ray in Blackbird and Cliff Burnett who played Franz Stangl in Into That Darkness

The most successful production at the CATS Awards remains Crime and Punishment in 2013/14, which was nominated in six different categories making it the most nominated Citizens Theatre production. It went on to win four awards including Best Director, Best Ensemble, Best Production and Best Male Performance for Adam Best for his portrayal of the young student Raskolnikov.

The full list of nominations for the Citz at this year's ceremony is: 

Best Male Performance Sandy Grierson (Lanark/Duncan Thaw)
Best Design Laura Hopkins (Designer), Nigel Edwards (Lighting Designer), Simon Wainwright (Video Artist)
Best Music and Sound Nick Powell (composer/sound designer)
Best Technical Presentation
Best Production

This Restless House
Best Female Performance Pauline Knowles (Clytemnestra)
Best Director Dominic Hill
Best Music and Sound Nikola Kodjabashia
Best New Play Zinnie Harris
Best Production

Best Male Performance Paul Higgins (Ray) 

Best Male Performance Cliff Burnett (Franz Stangl) 

The CATS Awards are hosted by the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh this year on 12 June at 4pm.

You can read the entire nominations list on the CATS website and you can book your tickets to the ceremony through the Lyceum's website. 

We're off to dust off our glad rags for what will be an exciting celebration of theatre in Scotland and hopefully we'll get the cream! 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Behind the Scenes with This Restless House: part two!

Olivia Morgan aka Electra is back to share another week of her adventures in rehearsals for This Restless House.

Get caught up with part one of Olivia's blog series here 

Phew, well that was the week that was. Tech week. For parts two and three. 

It was exciting to be on our stage after 7 weeks of rehearsal. It looks spectacular. An incredible set that is suitably versatile to house all three plays. And our lighting designer Ben, is having fun changing the mood for each part.  

Lighting Designer Ben Ormerod surveys lighting. Image by Alex Brady

It's joyous to play on this stage but you can also feel like a clumsy oaf as, like all productions, there are always things to get used to. No matter how good a mark up is in a rehearsal room, things just feel different on the actual stage. So, sometimes we change our entrances, our exits, our positioning in order to make sense of it all.  And sometimes aspects of the set are such fun to use that they begin to have a lot more prominence in the show.  I'm not going to reveal what these will be ;)  The Citizens has a raked stage which definitely takes a bit of getting used to, especially in the spectacular DM's that Electra shall be sporting.  
This Restless House at the Citizens Theatre, 2016 citz.co.uk
Photos: Tim Morozzo
As the week progresses our dressing room seems to accrue more biscuits and snacks in a bid to combat the long hours.  And everyone seems most thankful to the learning department and Young Co. who provide the tea and cakes for the Citizens' weekly tradition...  Homemade Scones!  Nice.

This Restless House at the Citizens Theatre, 2016 citz.co.uk
Photos: Tim Morozzo

We have the morning off on Saturday to prepare for a dress of part two and then a dress of both part two and three.  It is the first time we have run the two in consecutive order.  It is so useful to see how the two plays bleed into each other.  Literally.  

Next week, tech part one....!

22 April - 14 May

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Behind the Scenes with This Restless House

Olivia Morgan takes on the fascinating role of Electra in Zinnie Harris' new trilogy This Restless House based on Greek tragedy The Oresteia. Here she gives us an insight into the day-to-day life of rehearsing a show at the Citz. 

Thursday 7th April

This Restless House.  Three parts.  Seven weeks rehearsal and we are into our penultimate week. 
It's high stakes, relentless, full-on action. There is no escape and not much pause for rest. Restless indeed!

We are in the knitting-together week and it is so enjoyable to watch scenes I'm not involved with run into one another and simultaneously be able to grasp a better understanding of Electra's journey over the whole of the three parts.

Today was full on.  

In for ten and working through till half eight in the evening. I'm being used quite a lot and it is quite technical. There are a lot of scene changes that will reach their full potential when lighting and scenery comes flying in so I have to imagine a fair bit of what the eventual stage picture will look like.  

Meanwhile the stage is being dressed for tech rehearsals next week

Everyone is contributing all the time in these plays, whether you are the one with all the lines, thrashing and flailing about on a bed (me) or the one who is providing the terrifying noises as a soundtrack.  It makes for a lovely feeling of collaboration in the room.

We have a couple of hours rehearsal with the girls playing young Electra and young Iphigenia in the evening so we jump from rehearsing part three back to part one then onto part three again. It's incredible watching these young girls work and it is always a breath of fresh air when they come in.  After dinner we look at a dance number.  Drums are banged, guitars are twanged and I'm counting 1-8 so intently I might actually be in time...  

By the end,  I'm knackered, and I am one hundred percent certain that the Easter egg waiting at home will be devoured tonight...

Read Part Two here 

22 April - 14 May

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Meet the House of Atreus

This Restless House is a contemporary adaptation of Aeschylus' Greek drama The Oresteia. It's got a rich backstory that could easily rival Game of Thrones, so we've put together this handy graphic to introduce you to the House of Atreus and shed some light on their deep, dark secrets. 

Simply hover over the characters in the image below to find out more. 

This exhilarating three-part saga runs from 15 April - 14 May and is presented in two instalments. You can even make a day of it with our Trilogy Saturdays, where Director Dominic Hill will be discussing the intricacies of staging this ambitious modern adaptation of the ancient drama between performances.

15 April - 14 May

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Emma Tracey gives us an insight into #Dream2016

In each city that the Royal Shakespeare Company's new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream tours to, local amateur actors will appear onstage alongside the professional RSC actors. Citizens Dream Player Emma Tracey gives us her insight into joining #Dream16 and performing in  at the Citizens this March. 

In March 2011 I was 14. My mum took me to see Headlong Theatre’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow,  My only experience with the play before this had been in school, so I trudged along thinking “I’m not going to know what’s going on”. I couldn’t have been more wrong; the show was stunning, magical, hilarious, and it absolutely enthralled me. From there, a love of Shakespeare grew to be a love of being on stage, acting, words, and storytelling. 

Now, in March 2016 I am 19. My mum’s coming to the RSC's production of the show she took me to five years ago but there is one big difference: I’m not going with her to see it -  I’m going to be in it.

I never thought in a million years I would actually get the part, but in true Midsummer’s style, magical things began to happen and I was cast.

The Citizens Dream Players take the stage 
120 amateur actors came along to an open audition weekend with the RSC selecting a team especially for this project. The first time all six of us met was the day we were photographed as a group - hence the slightly awkward smiles in the photo above! The next thing after a cup of tea and introductions, was the brutal four month wait until “Shakespeare Bootcamp”
The Citizens Dream Players - Emma Tracey

Come September we were thrown in to the deep end. “Shakespeare Bootcamp” consisted of three tasks. The first was individually chosen monologues and duologues. I was paired with Bill (Whiland, playing Snug) and given a duologue from Much Ado About Nothing. We both found this hilarious as he is the oldest of the group and I am the youngest. Come task two, the awkward smiles had been replaced by a warm friendship that had developed within the team. Again, we were chucked into the deep end and instructed to create a dance. We picked the classic 1940s “Sing Sing”, and threw in some Charleston steps to match. Task three came and went extremely quickly; Pyramus and Thisbe was given a new spin as a radio play, which was exciting, nerve racking, and hilarious to record. 
Amongst this, we tuned into live broadcasting sessions directly from the RSC, to share with the other groups. Being the youngest, and having experience with google hangout, I was quickly designated the “Glasgow Techie”. Again, in true #dream16 style, magical powers with computers were awoken, and when the broadcast stopped working, I only had to talk to it to get it working again. 

Glasgow Techie Emma Tracey in action
Suddenly we were in rehearsals. As quickly as January came, February galloped in. We knew each scene like the back of our hand, and our characters felt like an alter ego we returned to three times a week. Abruptly it’s March. In two weeks time I’ll be racked with nerves, buzzing with excitement, and lost in the magic of it all, as The Citizens Dream Players prepare to take the stage.

The whole process has been something out of my wildest dreams. I’ve met some of the best people you could ever hope to meet and I’ve studied Shakespeare with Royal Shakespeare Company professionals. As a young aspiring actress, I could not have wished for a better experience. On 29 March, I will step onto one of the most renowned stages in the UK, in a production by one of the most renowned companys ever, as the youngest amateur actor in this crazy adventure. The lantern above my head will not only be lit by being moonshine. It’ll be the pure excitement and joy of this adventure.

29 March - 2 April