Monday, 16 May 2016

THE CAT'S PYJAMAS

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





Blackbird
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

Friday, 4 March 2016

Q+A with Get Carter writer Torben Betts

Get Carter has been adapted into a new stage play by Berwick-Upon-Tweed based writer Torben Betts. 


Get Carter writer Torben Betts. Credit Northern News.

Based on Ted Lewis' novel Jack's Return Home, Torben's version is less of the gangster caper of the 1971 film version starring Michael Caine, and more a psychological thriller getting into the mind of a criminal set against the backdrop of a decaying post-industrial city.

"Where the film is all surface gloss, the novel and Betts’s script immerse us in the point of view of a man whose mind is increasingly unhinged by what he discovers grubbing around in the seedy underbelly of his home town" The Times ★★★★
"a production that operates on numerous different levels" The Guardian ★★★★
Kevin Wathen as Jack Carter. Credit Topher McGill. 
Before the play opened at Newcastle's Northern Stage, Torben answered some questions about his new work.

Were you were already familiar with the book Jack’s Return Home?
I have to admit I came to the whole project with very little knowledge of either the book or the film. My adaptation is very much a reaction to the novel, upon which the film was based and I think perhaps having no preconceptions may have freed me up creatively.

Why were you particularly drawn to the story?
The story of Get Carter/Jack’s Return Home is in itself quite simple. A gangster goes back to his home town to bury his older brother and he suspects foul play. He trawls around the town’s underworld, making enquiries (with increasing brutality) until he discovers his suspicions are well-founded. He then takes his revenge, destroying himself in the process. What was more interesting to Lorne Campbell, Artistic Director of Northern Stage and Director of Get Carter, and myself was to look at how we could re-imagine this very well-known narrative. To look at Jack’s environment growing up as he did in a brutalised post-war world. The sense of landscape is very much a feature of the novel and clearly we are allowed much more insight into Jack’s thought processes in the novel than we are in the film. I wanted to look at the kind of man Jack Carter is, why he became the way he did. He is a sick (insane) man in a sick (insane) society and the play is like a journey for him as he gradually discovers this fact.

Credit Leo Warner

How have you found the creative process? 
If you ask any writer what they want most of all when they are making stuff up then it’s freedom. And I’ve been granted that. It’s been very liberating. Lorne has allowed me free rein to go wherever I want with this adaptation. Originally I had the idea of re-imagining the story as a Greek drama, with masks and a chorus and so on and indeed I wrote quite a lot in this way before abandoning it. This is the first time I have adapted a novel for the stage (I adapted The Seagull for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre last summer but that’s another thing entirely) and it’s been hard but enjoyable work. Though of course I have done all the writing, Lorne has been very much involved structurally and concept-wise and so it’s been very much a collaboration. I’m not really used to working in this way but we get on well and respect each other’s instincts so there haven’t (so far) been any clashes!


Get Carter


Don't miss this dark and stylish crime thriller when it moves into the Citizens from next Tuesday 8 - Saturday 12 March only.


8 - 12 March

Monday, 29 February 2016

Blackbird Comes Home to Roost

David Harrower's 21st-century Scottish classic Blackbird came home to roost this week in a new production directed by our Main Stage Director in Residence Gareth Nicholls.
Paul Higgins and Camrie Palmer in Blackbird. Image by Tim Morozzo
Audiences and critics have been gripped by this ("immaculate production" The Scotsman ★★★★) which only runs until this Saturday 5 March. 
"brutal, exacting and emotionally fraught" The Stage ★★★★ 
          "Nicholls’ production does exert the icy grip of a ghost story"
           The Times ★★★★ 
"a thrilling but gruelling ride" The Reviews Hub  ★★★★ 
       


Paul Higgins has been winning praise for his role as Ray, the man who at the age of 40 entered into a sexual relationship with a twelve-year-old girl. Paul's TV roles include Michael Dugdale, the senior civil servant in Utopia who finds himself the victim of blackmail on an epic scale thanks in part to his own marital infidelity.
"Higgins’s Ray (known in his new life as 'Peter'), is a remarkably nuanced picture of barely sustained indignation mixed with regret, affection and fear. At times, his body language suggests that he is shrinking, as if he wants to disappear." The Telegraph ★★★★ 
"Paul Higgins is a haunted bag of neuroses who flits between humility and resentment at what he's lost" The Herald ★★★★ 
          "richly ambiguous two-hander, with Paul Higgins and Camrie Palmer excellent as the tortured pair" The Guardian ★★★★ 



Blackbird deals with a subject that continues to make headline news. There's no simple answers, but plenty of complicated and sometimes uncomfortable questions about morality and judgement that have been provoking long post-show chats in our bar.


UNTIL 5 MARCH

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Checkmate! "A Clear Win" for Endgame

We've blown open the bunker and shared the shuffling machinations of Clov, Hamm, Nagg and Nell with audiences and critics. They've jumped into Beckett's absurd, strange and at times confusing world of Endgame with both feet - here's what they've had to say:

“a meticulously delineated stage world that never loosens its grip for an enthralling hour and a half” ★★★★★ The Herald

 "Hill, the Citz’s artistic director, has chalked up a clear win for them here" ★★★★★ What's On Stage
 
David Neilson as Hamm and Chris Gascoyne as Clov. Production images by Tim Morozzo
"hits home with nihilistic force" ★★★★ The Guardian 

"Hill’s production creates a haunting sense of the world beyond these bare walls"  ★★★★The Times (£) 





"There's a tremendous purity of bleakness about Dominic Hill’s masterly production.”  ★★★★ The Scotsman 

 "a suitably reverential treatment" ★★★★½ Reviews Hub


You've got until next Saturday 20 February to catch the play at the Citizens, before the production transfers to our co-producers HOME, Manchester  from 25 February - 12 March.



BOOK ENDGAME TICKETS

Friday, 29 January 2016

Why Endgame?

Endgame runs at the Citizens Theatre from 4 - 20 February and will tour to HOME, Manchester. Our Endgame stars Chris Gascoyne and David Neilson have wanted to perform Endgame for some time. 

They've been taking time out of an intense rehearsal schedule to share their thoughts about Endgame, Beckett and performing on the Citizens' stage.


“It asks questions, but doesn’t give answers – and that’s what I love about it. It makes us wonder about these games we play with each other, the filling in of time before we go. And that’s so true.
“Hamm says in one line; ‘I was never there.’ And what he means is we all worry about careers, and getting the best house prices, or whatever, but we don’t seem to really experience life.”  David Neilson in Evening Times
David Neilson and Chris Gascoyne in rehearsal. Credit Alex Brady
"We shouldn’t underestimate people. Beckett is for everybody. He isn’t middle-class, highbrow theatre. He’s just not." Chris Gascoyne in The Guardian
"It was, for me, as good as it gets. This audience I wanted to play to" David Neilson talks to Sunday Mail about his experience as an audience member at the Citizens.
David Neilson and Chris Gascoyne in rehearsal. Credit Alex Brady
“At the moment I'm like a little boy looking up at his teacher to see if he's done alright,” Gascoyne says of working with Hill, “and when he says yes, I feel like I've got a medal or an award.” Chris Gascoyne in The Herald talking about working with Citizens Artistic Director Dominic Hill. 
Dominic Hill in the Endgame rehearsal room. Credit Alex Brady.
We grabbed Chris and David for a coffee and asked them to fill us in on what Endgame means to them:



Meanwhile, our staff have been busy preparing the stage for this work, and we're all looking forward to welcoming everyone back for the start of our Spring 2016 season.

Apprentice Carpenter Declan Mooney, Carpenter Stephen Harrop, Head Flyman Chris Traquair and Head of Workshop Denis Murphy. Credit Alex Brady.

Neil Haynes painting scenery. Credit Alex Brady

Jason McQuaid, Deputy Head of Stage and Denis Murphy Head of Workshop preparing an important piece of staging. Credit Alex Brady

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Now we are 70 - Looking back at our anniversary year

In 2015 we celebrated 70 years in our Gorbals home with plays that put Glasgow front and centre. We look back on a year of great theatre - what was your favourite?


JANUARY
We welcomed back the innovative Filter who started their UK tour of their radical version of Macbeth here at the Citizens. Who knew that Banquo's ghost couldn't resist a dinner party of Wotsits, Coca Cola and a high-stakes Blind Man's Buff?
Ferdy Roberts as Macbeth. Image by Tim Morozzo

Meanwhile our Circle Studio was one of the last places standing in John and Zinnie's Harris chamber opera The Garden set in a dystopian world.

Pauline Knowles in The Garden. Image by Jane Hobson

FEBRUARY
Audiences in Glasgow and Edinburgh welcomed back John Byrne's beloved Slab Boys with open arms in 2015. Those cheeky scamps were whipped into shape both on and off stage by David Hayman, who directed as well as performed the role of the boys' gaffer.

Our Valentine's press night saw the staff kitted out in their finest 50s gear and some very special guests in attendance.




"David Hayman rolls back the clock with an impressive revival of John Byrne’s Scots classic, The Slab Boys" The Big Issue ★



We're still trying to get the last of the paint off the Circle Studio after David Leddy's Fire Exit gave us a crash course in how not to get ahead in the murky world of art forgery in Long Live the Little Knife. 
Image by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

APRIL
Our friends Headlong (who return in Spring 2016 as co-producers on Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme) brought David Hare's dramatisation of the Labour Party's failed 1992 election campaign which saw some eerie parallels with the political landscape in 2015.  The post-show discussion held just a few weeks before the General Election was a heated event! Playwright David Hare's Guardian article about his play sparked almost as much debate.

 
Image by  Marc Douet
We hosted Dead Centre's Lippy a haunting play inspired by the real life tragedy of four women from County Kildare who chose to take their own lives in mysterious circumstances.

Image by Jeremy Abrahams
                                 
 Lippy was presented as part of The Arches' Behaviour Festival. Very sadly, The Arches was forced to close in June following a controversial ruling from the city's licensing authorities.

We gave the premiere performance of Douglas Maxwell's Fever Dream: Southside and finally got an answer to the question: Where's Terry?


Set in the streets around Queen's Park, Douglas' funny and surreal was an affectionate but raw depiction of a part of Glasgow that has challenges and triumphs

Photo by Tim Morozzo

MAY
As well as celebrating our 70 years in the Gorbals, there was also a far more painful 70th anniversary in 2015, when we marked the end of World War 2. Gitta Sereny's Into That Darkness is a collection of interviews with SS-Obersturmführer Franz Stangl who oversaw the deaths of nearly 1 million people in Nazi extermination camps. 

Photo by Tim Morozzo

Our Mainstage Director in Residence Gareth Nicholls made his debut at the Citizens with a searing production, which was adapted for the stage by Robert David Macdonald. Macdonald was one of the three artistic leaders under whose leadership the Citizens became known around the world for contemporary tellings of classic texts. 

"...superbly acted drama is a meticulous, compelling triumph." The Guardian

AUGUST
We were busy over the summer months preparing for our most ambitious project to date: a stage adaptation of Alasdair Gray's iconic 20th-century classic, Lanark. Lanark: A Life in Three Acts was written by David Greig and directed by Graham Eatough whose collaboration first began with experimental theatre company Suspect Culture
Image by Eoin Carey

One of the most hotly-anticipated events at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival, the eyes of the world were on the Citizens Theatre. It was met with rave reviews with audiences and critics, and audiences flocked to see the show when it returned home to Glasgow in September. 

"astonishing★ The Scotsman 
"superbly drilled and exhilaratingly confident piece of ensemble theatre"  ★ The Financial Times
"undeniably modernist and quintessentially Scottish"  The Telegraph

SEPTEMBER

On 11 September 1945, the Citizens Theatre Company gave its first performance at the former Royal Princess's Theatre at 119 Gorbals Street.

We marked the occasion with an evening welcoming back old friends to the Citizens, and a documentary charting 6 months in the life of our theatre as well as some of our history broadcast on BBC Scotland and BBC Four. You can watch clips from the broadcast, including interviews with Pierce Brosnan and Mark Rylance on the BBC's Arts website

Lots of people got in touch to tell us about their memories of the theatre and the times that they've spent here, and we loved reading them all and hearing everyone's stories.

If you'd like to share yours, you can get in touch with us via our website.


OCTOBER
Vox Motus and National Theatre of Scotland brought back the beautiful and stylish Dragon, having premiered the work at the Citizens in 2013. Since then, the production has travelled to China, won a UK Theatre Award for Best Play for Children and Young People, has been exhibited at the V & A and was invited to be be part of the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival.
Image by Peter Dibdin. 
We also celebrated the legacy of the notorious Close Theatre Club which has established 50 years ago with a season of three productions which honoured. Gareth Nicholls was joined by Vanishing Point Artistic Director Matt Lenton and Debbie Hannan to direct the works in our Up Close season in our Circle Studio. 
Images by Alex Brady.
Our third world premiere production in 2015 was a brand new musical for Scotland, created as a co-production with Ambassador Theatre Group. The Choir was written by Paul Higgins, with songs by Deacon Blue frontman Ricky Ross and told of a disparate group of people brought together to sing in a community choir, not always willingly, in Wishaw.

The corridors, offices and workshops of the Citizens rang with Ricky's hummable tunes that got everybody singing, and audiences loved this feel good night out.

DECEMBER
We closed our anniversary year with two shows for families: the wild and anarchic Rapunzel burst onto our main stage while 3 - 6 year olds and their families were treated to an adventure to the North Pole in Flora's Fairy Challenge. 

Thank you to everyone who has seen one of our shows, got in touch with their memories of the theatre, taken part in one of our classes, or worked with our Learning team. 
Our Spring 2016 season is already on sale, including Beckett's Endgame and This Restless House, a new adaptation of the ancient Greek tragedy The Orestia. 
See you in 2016!