Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Comedy Festival at the Citz 2011

With 10 different acts from the Magners Glasgow International Comedy Festival at the Citizens Theatre this year, there is most definitely a show to suit all tastes and ages. There are a few big names you'll know very well, but a few others you might not - but who'd be well worth taking a risk on.

The easiest way to suss out their style, is to watch a clip; so I've gathered some together in one easy blog post, to save you the trouble.

Warning: These are adult shows and do contain swearing!

Grumpy Old Woman and recent star of I'm a Celebrity...
Mainly restricted view seats left

DES BISHOP Fri 1 April
His festival show will challenge the ridiculous ideals of manhood.

MARK THOMAS Mon 4 - Tues 5 April
Political activist extraordinaire (Limited availability remaining)

Local funny-woman and Fred MacAulay regular.

Radio 4 regular, who first came on the scene in the 80s.

Perrier award-winning comedian and Buzzcocks regular

The ultimate Grumpy Old Man and British institution.

In addition we have The Guardian's intellectual heavyweight GEORGE MONBIOT, local hero JONATHAN WATSON hosting his Wind Up Live (mainly restricted view seats left) and JAMES CAMPBELL's Comedy 4 Kids.

All shows are recommended for 18+ (apart from James Campbell's, which is 6+).

Click on the performers name to find out more about their show.

We'll see you soon for plenty of giggles and most likely a few big belly laughs!


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

"the nearest I got to the Beatles"

Kathleen has written in to tell us about her Glasgow Fair holidays in Ayr with her mum, dad and sometimes Aunt Sadie and Uncle Jimmy.

"It was just a lovely feeling...We always went to Ayr because that was where my mum had gone when she was wee. Come to think of it, I never heard of where my dad went!

We had a wee yellow Ford Anglia and used to park at the huge car par on the frotnt. We had a wee primus stove and always had tea from that and sandwiches, never a trip to a cafe. At that time there was a huge shop there and it was like being let loose in a plastic heaven where you could buy a bucket(very fancy shaped like a castle) and a spade or boat.

I remember these holidays mainly because I had my first taste of theatre going there-at the wonderful Ayr Gaiety. I saw comedian Billy Rusk and Betty Melville and thought they were wonderful. There was also a boy band, 'The Starlites' and they were the nearest I got to the Beatles.

I remember one day we had a special treat-lunch at Hourstons, very posh shop and who was there in the tearoom but Betty Melville and Stuart Sherwin and they came over and talked to us. They must have wondered what was wrong with this wee wean who who just stared open mouthed at them! I couldn't believe these magical beings from bright lights and sparkle land were actually flesh and blood. All I can say is, I was very young!"

Read more memories here.


We need your stories and photos for Fair Friday. Find out how you can submit your photos and memories here!

If you have an older relative or friend who may want to contribute, why not ask them and submit on their behalf? We can't wait to hear more.


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Update on Yonago, Japan

Here's an update from Ros on her experiences directing Top Girls in Japan. You can read all of her blog entries about the project here.

Week 3

Blogging on my exploits in Yonago seems somewhat irrelevant in the face of the catastrophe Japan is facing right now. However it seems unfair to leave the project hanging in the ether. Unfair on you and on all the participants who took the journey.

Obviously because of what has happened it has been difficult to get messages though to people and the exchange images but I have some personal ones to share with you. Just to reassure you, so far it seems no one I worked with has been effected by the disaster. Yonago is on the West Coast of Japan and as far as I know was totally unaffected. My translator Mikiyo was in Tokyo and her and her family whilst shocked were not hurt. She is hoping to fly back to London today on her scheduled flight. I was very lucky I missed the whole thing by two days.

In my last blog I tried to explain how beautiful the surroundings are so heres a few I phone shots for you.

Heres a shot of the town of Yonago from the top of the Castle ruins. The Rough Guide describes the town as an industrial town to pass though but I happen to know it has the finest sushi in japan and an extraordinary avenue of shrines.

Heres a small shinto shrine, cats are very highly regarded here - though sometimes made into musical instruments. But who are we to judge, we where discussing the kind of decor you might find in a private members club in london (maybe the setting for Marlenes dream meal) and I mentioned in passing hunting scenes. The cast where horrified that we once (and due to a few loop holes still do) charge around the countryside chasing foxes. Its taken a while to convince them we are not all barbarians.

Here is the local mountain Dyson. It's a popular ski resort and spectacularly beautiful though apparently a dwarf compared to Fuji.

Japan is secular, it has no formal religion but... there are many observations, ritual, and ceremonies. During week two there was the 'outting the devil' night. Which meant after rehearsal, one of us put on a plastic devil mask and ran around whilst everyone else throws nuts at them and shouts 'devil out'. Defiantly something to be exported over here.

Below are the emperor and empress dolls that get dusted down on the 3rd of march to celebrate girls day. One of the cast brought this into the rehearsal space as a lucky charm for our top girls.

Just to keep a balance another cast member brought the flags that are hung for 'boys day' later in the year.

Thats all for now. I'll update you on how the show went once I've got some quality shots.


It was magic...two weeks off!

We're gathering your stories and memories of Glasgow Fair to hopefully use in our forthcoming community production Fair Friday. We just added a form to our website which makes it really easy for you to submit your memories.

Why not chat to your grandparents and ask them what they remember. If you submit a story, you could win tickets for the show and a family tickets for the Paddle Steamer Waverley.

More info

Our first submission via the online form is utterly fantastic -

"I can always remember hanging off the back of the Waverley and waving to folk on the pier - god knows who we were waving to, but it felt a wee bit like being in a movie, setting sail for somewhere exotic. I can remember when the factories closed for the Fair - it was magic! We used to get a half day to clean the machines, oil them etc for the factory being closed. We would all run out at the end of the shift, screaming like banshees - two weeks off?! I remember in the fair we would also go on things called 'Paddy Black' trips. It was an organisation in Glasgow, and he would run trips for less fortunate children. I remember, 1929, I was five years old, and my mother sent me on a 'Paddy Black' trip. It was a horse and cart ride from Kinning Park (McCleland St) to Glasgow Green. The horse and cart used was normally used by the coalman, and I remember my white summer dress being manky with coal dust. Sounds prehistoric now."

Go find some stories/memories and send them our way.

Citizens Community Company
7-11 June 2011


Photo (adapted from an original image) by Ben Ward

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A note on DEATH, Dumb, Blonde

Tonight SeenUnSeen present their new show DEATH, Dumb, Blonde at the Citz. Below is an exclusive looks at Director Neil Doherty's programme note for the show.

DEATH, Dumb, Blonde
9-12 March 2011, 7.30pm

The basic background for the conception of the piece started when I was watching one of those Channel 5 style documentaries on the subject of Marilyn Monroe, called 'Marilyn Monroe - The Legend' or something along those lines. This got me thinking that, since her untimely death and all the controversy that surrounds it, we get treated to a very particular 'version' of this woman. We get to view her from a very narrow and prescribed viewpoint. We never get to hear her story but just a constructed version of it.

It got me thinking we should get to experience the real Marilyn Monroe. We should hear her voice. Then I started reading different books (some sympathetic and some unsympathetic) which centred around her life and her death. These attempted to throw some light on her life, but it wasn't until I started reading Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates, which examines her life, myth and legacy from a very different standpoint. It speaks of her as a third person and in doing so gives Marilyn a very different voice as to that we had somehow heard up until now.

In this piece I am therefore interested in telling the other story of Marilyn. The story that hopefully eradicates Marilyn Monroe, the icon, the idol and the one in which we get to hear her true voice and witness her true essence, warts and all.

The writing involved in the piece is a mixture of facts surrounding her life as well as my original writing (along with the help of the performers to which I am indebted) which attempts to treat the 'subject ' (i.e. Marilyn Monroe) from a distance. It should be noted that also incorporated within the play text are references from the many books written about her as well as all her biographical details. These are culled from various sources and are used, among other things, to provide a narrative thrust in the same vein as a documentary.

Hence, in the piece you are about to see there are direct 'lifts' from the text of Blonde which the actors speak. When this occurs, this will be highlighted somehow within the performance. By reading this and other texts, it unearthed and shaped the idea for me that Marilyn's life could be examined from a wholly different, meta-theatrical angle which would combine factual and fictional elements surrounding her life.

Neil Doherty

...Don't forget this is the FINAL WEEK of Marilyn, so if you've not seen it yet, grab a ticket before Saturday!

"Philip Howard’s good-looking production is a fascinating and touching theatrical spectacle, in which classic images of Marilyn as the pouting sex goddess constantly play against the reality of a woman trying to sustain her career, whilst ageing fast.” 

The Scotsman 4 stars

“(a) handsomely audacious production…a bravura turn by Thorburn.” 

The Herald 4 stars

“Frances Thorburn gives a thousand-watt performance. Her Marilyn is at once bold and fragile, shrew and na├»ve, child-like and x-rated, and it’s impossible to take your eyes off her.” 

OnStage Scotland

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Awards for The Girl in the Yellow Dress

Just got some brilliant news, The Girl in the Yellow Dress - our hit from last year’s Edinburgh Festival - has won two awards at South Africa’s star-studded Naledi Awards:

The Girl in the Yellow Dress, produced by The Market Theatre (Johannesburg), Live Theatre (Newcastle) and The Citizens Theatre (Glasgow). Directed by Malcolm Purkey and written by Craig Higginson.

Marianne Oldham, as the English coach in The Girl in the Yellow Dress.

With entertainment on the night provided by multi-Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir, our colleagues from Market Theatre, Johannesburg donned black tie glamour to accept their awards and celebrate another year of great theatre. Director, Malcolm Purkey accepted the Best Actress award on Marianne’s behalf.

The Girl in the Yellow Dress was also nominated in the following categories: BEST NEW SOUTH AFRICAN PLAY OR MUSICAL PRODUCED (Craig Higginson); BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE (PLAY) (Nat Ramabulana); BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY OR MUSICAL (Malcolm Purkey) and BEST THEATRE SET DESIGN (Gary McCann).

Later this month, South Africa’s Fleur du Cap Awards take place with The Girl in the Yellow Dress nominated in 3 categories: BEST PERFORMANCE BY ACTOR, BEST DIRECTOR and BEST NEW SA SCRIPT. We’ll report back when we get news.


P.S. Well done to Nat Ramabulana who won the Best Supporting Actor Award at the Naledi's for another show!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Top Girls (week 2): Facing gender issues in Japan

Recent Citizens Trainee Director, Ros Philips is currently in Japan directing a community theatre production of Top Girls. She has been blogging about her experiences:

Week 2

Thankfully the miserable fog of Jet lag has cleared and I can get on with this extraordinary experience. Yonago is in beautiful surrounding, it is a small port nestling in mountains. There is a ski resort 30 mins away, some of the oldest temples on Japan, hot springs and clear blue sea Japan Sea. I’ve started jogging around, much to the amusement of the locals.

Much of the rehearsals are spent getting to grips with the ideas and relationships Caryl Churchill has written for us. 
Consequently I find myself slowly indoctrinating the cast into the mindset of 80s feminism.

In Japan the phrase ‘Marriage Retirement’ has emerged. My Producer Hiroka tells me that women have been hit hard by recession and finding jobs that allows them to live independently is nearly impossible. Young graduate women are stating their main ambition is to find a wealthy husband as a means to autonomy from family. They want men who earn over 70k a year which as that’s a tiny percentage of men they are heading for terrible disappointment. 

After the first week where the older women in the cast were articulate and opinionated about feminism and the younger women fiercely resistant to even saying the word, one young woman told a story that brought everyone together. She is now in her mid 30's and when she was completing her MA in Chemistry - top of her class- her tutors recommended her to the top companies. The job she most wanted was in Tokyo so she took the £200, 8 hr coach ride to the interview, sat in front of the panel and within 5 mins was asked 'why she wanted a job? She could get married, she's only 23 and would make a great wife'. Yes many a panel may think it in the UK but in Japan they say it. After an 8 year battle to find a job that matched her expertise she gave up came back to Yonago and is now an administrator. She's happy, she's delightful in fact but now, now she's thinking it didn't have to be that way for women in Japan.

Ooooh the influence is addictive. Japan is so genderised, they have boys' days where everyone puts up flags and parties and girls' days where people put a doll of an emperor and empress on their mantle piece and eat cake. You do see women walking a couple of paces behind their husband. I promise I am biting my tongue, and respecting the traditions. I just keep asking questions, that relate to the play. It's a discursive play, full of opinionated women, they've got to get into that groove.


Friday, 4 March 2011

Win a signed Eve Arnold print of Marilyn

If you buy a Herald newspaper tomorrow, you can be in with a chance to win a limited edition print signed by legendary photographer Eve Arnold, which shows Marilyn Monroe with co-star Montgomery Clift on set during filming for The Misfits.

©Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos

One lucky winner will win the print plus tickets to see Marilyn at the theatre on Sat 12 March at 7.30pm. There are also five pairs of tickets up for grabs for both Wed 9 and Thur 10 March at 7.30pm.

Castle Galleries is host to a collection of eight limited edition prints of Marilyn Monroe, taken by prestigious photographer Eve Arnold – who photographed many iconic figures including Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich and Malcolm X. 
You can see an exhibition of these in our foyer throughout Marilyn!

MARILYN is at the Citizens Theatre until 12 March.
View more Eve Arnold prints: castlegalleries.com

So what do you have to do? Buy a Herald - don't forget, set an alarm!
Have a great weekend.


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Top Girls - Rehearsals week 1

As you may know from previous blog posts, Ros Philips (former Citizens Trainee Director in Residence) is currently directing a production of Top Girls in Japan. She sent us this blog from the rehearsal room:

Week 1

Lets say the challenges came thick and fast. I had a design meeting in Tokyo the morning after touchdown which had the 'master' designer walking out - for 'fresh air' - which Mikiyo (my translator) and I thought 'interesting'. I got nervous when he kept repeating how much he respected me. This is a country that reveres experience and age and I have to learn fast where I fit in to that hierarchy.

Deep snow (yes worse than Glasgow in Dec) in Yonago, my meccano flat - which I refer to as my hutch, is referred to by Japanese people as a 'weekly flat'. These 'kit' flats are to house 'salary men' on their travels away from home. Its thin walls make it very cold. It's taking some getting used to but I do have a heated loo seat to keep me warm.

I was greeted with a 7 day week schedule, I was told that there was a five hour production meeting (eat your heart out Chris McDougall - Citz Head of Production!) and a costume parade during the first two days of rehearsal. We negotiated.

On day three we had a read through, a voice in my head kept asking questions such as ‘why did that three word sentence take forever?’ and ‘why are they being so reasonable to each other with such blue language?’. I asked Mikiyo why they seem to take so long to speak a single sentence and she told me that in Japan 'we like to explain the meaning of text'. So that’s why we were bored out of our brains. Instead of writing the equivalent of 'He's a bit of a cowboy' we've got 'He's a man that can’t be trusted to do his job properly'. We’re working with explanations not equivalent idioms. It’s a lesson in how to kill a play stone dead, and therefore something we're working on.

Also, swearing is 'not done' here in Japan. When I asked them what comes out of their mouths when someone drives into the back of their car they blush and recall swearing. So swearing is done here in Japan but everyone has amnesia about it. I have come to realise the general policy is that many 'ugly' things are best left to the forgotten recesses of the Japanese mind. Who knows maybe it's healthy. I start to wonder if that was what 1950's Britain was up to. Caryl Churchill is going to challenge this practice.

Finally, to top it, I played a game. This was to see what peoples first impressions of the play where, and to find out their opinion of the themes. When I asked them to give a one sentence definition of feminism..... 'Feminists are ugly lesbians', wasn't the actual phrase used, that’s more of an amalgam of the consensus. Not far wrong I hear some of you PC beleaguered readers say. Oddly, it was the women in the group who most supported the statement.

All sightseeing plans had to be scrapped I realized this was to be full time, full on, full bloodied campaign, with cast, crew, creatives and company. Anyone whose title could begin with a C. The good news is my stage manager and translator are brilliant, and well and truly onside.


[Ed. Good luck Ros!]