Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A triumphant take on a Citizens classic

Our Main Stage Director in Residence, Gareth Nicholls, debuts at the Citizens with a thrilling production of Into That Darkness. Adapted by Robert David MacDonald, the play lays bare journalist Gitta Sereny's interviews with a convicted Nazi war criminal. Critics are calling the production a "triumph".

Cliff Burnett in Into That Darkness. Credit: Tim Morozzo

“superbly acted drama is a meticulous, compelling triumph”
The Guardian ★★★★★

“superb production… magnificently captured”
The Scotsman ★★★★★

“a production that will keep you engaged long after the house lights come up”
The Public Reviews ★★★★

“a thrillingly mesmeric meditation on human cruelty.”
The Herald ★★★★

“The ensemble is highly skilled and committed, with Duff in particular adding yet another beautifully textured portrait to her gallery of multifaceted women. “
The Times ★★★★

“painful, raw emotion carried beautifully by its two leads”

Blythe Duff and Molly Innes in Into That Darkness. Credit: Tim Morozzo

Audiences have been struck by the intense performances from Blythe Duff and Cliff Burnett, and the thought-provoking subject matter that looks into the very heart of evil.

Blythe Duff, Cliff Burnett and Molly Innes in Into That Darkness. Credit: Tim Morozzo

See more from what audiences have been saying on Storify


Friday, 22 May 2015

PJ Paparelli

Citizens Theatre staff are shocked and deeply saddened by the death of PJ Paparelli, Artistic Director of American Theatre Company in Chicago. PJ passed away on Thursday 21 May 2015 in Glasgow, following a road traffic accident. 
American Theater Company Artistic Director PJ Paparelli

PJ will be sadly missed by all those who met and worked with him during the time he spent at the Citizens last year developing his documentary play The Project(s). 

The Citizens Theatre staff send condolences to PJ’s family and friends, and to colleagues at the American Theatre Company. 

Friday, 15 May 2015

An insight into the work of a forensic clinical psychologist

As a dramatisation of interviews with a convicted Nazi war criminal, Into That Darkness looks into the very heart of evil and asks how, 70 years after the end of the Second World War, we can prevent atrocities of this scale from happening again.

Director Gareth Nicholls will be joined by forensic clinical psychologist, Anne Carpenter McKechnie, for a Curtain Raiser event on Thursday 21st May to discuss how individuals become capable of horrific crimes.

Here, Anne introduces her work and illuminates what we can learn from the study of criminals.

I trained first as a clinical psychologist and our role is in working with mental illness and abnormality, largely in health settings, treating problems such as depression, anxiety, psychotic illnesses, phobias etc. We are trained in the assessment and treatment of such conditions across all ages and abilities, including learning disability. I later qualified for recognition as a forensic psychologist and in this capacity am trained in the assessment and treatment of offending behaviour. A core part of the work of a forensic clinical psychologist is therefore explaining the link between mental illness or mental disorder and offending behaviour.

Society often becomes confused about the reasons why people commit extreme offences such as violent or sexual offences; we often want to label such people as "mad" because it reassures us that this was out of the ordinary and is therefore unlikely to happen on a regular basis. While some people may be "mad" i.e. suffering from a severe and enduring mental illness such as schizophrenia, others do not have illnesses that respond to medication or hospital treatment. Such people often have personality difficulties to such an extent that they are assessed as having a personality disorder; this means that they way they think, feel and behave is at odds with how the rest of their culture or society behave. A personality disorder diagnosis, be it Anti social, Psychopathic or Borderline is a way of describing someone who persistently and across all aspects of their life behaves in a way that sets them apart from others. Research on the assessment of risk of serious and sexual violence has identified that the presence of a personality disorder, particularly psychopathy, is the biggest indicator of potential future risk of repeat offending. It is therefore a core part of my work in the assessment of violent offenders to determine whether or not a personality disorder exists and to identity treatment and management plans for such individuals.

Director Gareth Nicholls in rehearsal with cast members Cliff Burnett, Blythe Duff and Ali Craig. Photo by Tim Morozzo.

When I was approached to work with Gareth and the cast I was delighted to be able to have the opportunity to share my 25 years of experience of working with offenders and individuals with severe personality difficulties. I was particularly struck that Gitta Sereny, not a trained psychologist but clearly a woman with a keen interest in the human condition, managed to successfully engage Stangl in the discussion of his life and offending. While I have never met anyone with the scale of offending which Stangl perpetrated, I have met many violent people (men and women) with personality disorders and have been able to engage them in work looking at the factors involved in their offending. I was able to discuss this with Blythe and Cliff and hope it helped them further their understanding and therefore portrayal of these interesting characters.

Anne will be speaking at our Into That Darkness: Curtain Raiser on Thursday 21 May at 6.00pm. Book via Box Office (0141 429 0022). £4/£3 concessions. For more information on Into That Darkness starring Blythe Duff and Cliff Burnett, head to citz.co.uk

Friday, 8 May 2015

10 years young - Celebrating the Citizens Theatre Young Co.

Over sixteen productions, the Citizens Young Co. has supported young theatre makers by giving them the skills and opportunities to create work within a professional organisation. In the Young Co.'s 10th anniversary year, theatre director and blogger, Eve Nicol talks about her time in the early days of the company.


I had never been involved in school shows or youth theatres, but I had fallen in love with the Citizens Theatre on a school trip. I desperately wanted to learn more about how theatre companies made work for the stage.

I joined the Young Co. when I was 18. The group of teenagers who I met during my time with the Young Co. were the first of many young people the Citizens has supported since the company first began in 2005.

Experimenting on Woyzeck, Young Co. 2005.
We were a mixed bunch. The group was from a more diverse range of backgrounds and interests than I’d ever met at school or college. Spending hours together over the long periods required to create a show and we formed a firm group of friends. We learnt as much about each other as we did about theatre.

My time with the Young Co. made me aware of the variety of different jobs that were involved in getting a show to the stage. It wasn’t all about acting. The Learning team developed the work we did but we met all the other departments of the theatre who helped us get our ideas on stage. They kitted us out in costumes, helped to sell our show at the Box Office or conjured up stunning lighting designs that took our work to another level.

After our very first performance, everyone was hugging and screaming celebratory congratulations to each other in the theatre’s Circle Studio. I watched the celebrations from a step back. The feeling of pride in what we had created as an assorted bunch of teenagers who had only met each other two months ago was a greater feeling than any adrenaline of performing to an audience. I thought “we made this.” I took a photo of that moment and posted it all over our MySpace profiles.

The Chicago Project, Young Co. 2007. Photography by Iain G Farrell.

I left the Young Co. after four productions to go to university to study theatre. This choice would never have been made without the confidence my experience with the Young Co. gave me. Ten years on and sixteen Young Co. productions later, I’ve been working in theatre for over three years, doing now just as I did then – sharing the excitement of theatre on social media and creating my own work for the kind of intimate theatre spaces where I first found my feet.

This Is What We Ask, Young Co. 2012. Photography by Tim Morozzo.

There’s an entirely new batch of young theatre makers now part of the Young Co.  But many members of the early days of the company are now working in theatre. You might have seen two of them recently on the Citz main stage as professional actors. James Harkness was on tour with Headlong’s The Absence of War and Keira Lucchesi in the Citz’ own The Slab Boys.

James and Keira in Citizen Y, Nighthawks, Young Co. 2009. (photography by Tim Morozzo)

 L. The Absence of War at Headlong Theatre, Rose Theatre and Sheffield Theatres.
 (photography by Mark Douet)
R. The Slab Boys, Citizens Theatre (photography by Tim Morozzo)

Young Co. are currently performing Southside Stories, a new piece of theatre inspired by Fever Dream: Southside. 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Southside Diaries

In the first instalment of blog posts by our Young Co. members, Catriona McNicoll has taken time out of rehearsals  to share her insights into the making of Southside Stories.  

Not long to go now! The Young Co. are thrilled to be showing their verbatim piece, Southside Stories, as of next week through the 6th-9th of May. We've been working hard over the past few weeks and the show only seems to be getting better and better after each rehearsal.

Inspired by Douglas Maxwell’s Fever Dream: Southside which is directed by Dominic Hill on the Citizens’ main stage, the Young Co.’s Southside Stories gives an insight to life in Govanhill. Through a variety of anonymous interviews, a true sense of life in Glasgow’s most culturally diverse district becomes a heartfelt piece of theatre not to be missed. Stories of happy memories mixed with fears and hopes for the future create a show that could not have been done without the hard work and dedication of the whole team.

The Young Co. have been able to respectfully represent the lives and opinions of these real people. We even got the chance to visit Govanhill and see the streets and places mentioned throughout the piece to inspire us and to get an idea of everyday life there. We hope that we can do the extraordinary town of Govanhill justice and that we can not only entertain our audience, but inform them as well.

The Young Co. would like to thank all that have helped make our show as great as it is, with special thanks to Guy Hollands, Neil Packham and Finn Anderson. We would love as many people as possible to come along and explore life in Govanhill with us, come see us at the Circle Studio, Citizens Theatre May 6 - 9!

Catriona McNicoll - Member of Young Co.

Southside Stories 6 - 9 May

More info

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