Friday, 18 November 2016

Please Don’t Stop the Music… Musings on Week 2 of Hansel and Gretel

By Assistant Director Izzie Milne Turner

Hansel & Gretel at the Citizens Theatre -

Sound is the beating heart of our Christmas show, Hansel & Gretel. Dominic loves live music in this theatre. Our Macedonian composer, Nikola Kodjabashia, is one of Dominic’s favoured collaborators. They have previously worked together on A Christmas Carol, This Restless House and Crime and Punishment.

Hansel & Gretel at the Citizens Theatre -
Image by Tim Morozzo
One of the reasons that Dominic enjoys working with Nikola, is that he has a lively and eccentric attitude toward music. For the first music session for Hansel & Gretel Nikola brought in an eclectic assortment of instruments including a drum kit, double bass, bells, shakers, Piano, keyboard, and a Timpani drum. Nikola gets everyone in the cast to play something- regardless of their musical experience: beating out a drum pattern, plucking the double bass, or hitting a rusty triangle. He encourages the notion that playing music is not just for the trained, sheet music type, but open to anyone with a bit of courage and imagination.

Hansel & Gretel at the Citizens Theatre -
Image by Izzie Milne Turner
Dominic isn’t interested in piped-in sound made outside of the rehearsal room - he wants a natural evolution between the drama and the music. He reminds me, “Theatre is not film”. In film, music is layered on at the end but in theatre we have the opportunity for the theatre making and music to work hand in hand, for the collaboration to be alive and tangible. The scenes are often rehearsed against the sound of instruments being plucked, drummed and bowed.

Hansel & Gretel at the Citizens Theatre -
Image by Tim Morozzo
What happens in the story and the scenes informs the compositions - and vice versa - the soundscape provides an imaginative setting for the actors - a rich atmosphere for them to immerse themselves in and play off. Nikola has composed an elegant, haunting gypsy melody that recurs in the story in different arrangements (piano, accordion, fairground organ). It’s a real earworm - I often find myself humming it on my way to and from rehearsals!

Hansel & Gretel at the Citizens Theatre -
Image by Izzie Milne Turner
In our rehearsal room sound doesn’t just mean songs - it has many forms. We use it to illustrate the subconscious, suspense, jeopardy, and the howling wind and rain. It’s the texture and the fabric of the world we are building. And it isn’t always sweet and pretty - it’s contradictory - traversing between soft and rough, light and dark, smooth and broken.

Hansel & Gretel at the Citizens Theatre -
Image by Tim Morozzo
We love mics. Everyone, at some point, jumps on a microphone to gasp or chew and swallow. Sometimes to do what Nikola calls “gossiping voices” - ominously whispering words from the text like “spoilt”, “lazy” or “punished”. The mics create disembodied voices that brilliantly evoke the supernatural elements of Hansel and Gretel’s world.

After a week with instruments in the rehearsal room, I’ve learnt that sound can release and elevate scenes. A few oriental minor chords, combined with a droning note and a soft beat on the Timpani create the gloom of the forest. A few classical dance chords on the piano create a joyful snow fight. The crashing of a Timpani herald the arrival of a giant. At the end of the week the actors finally set down the instruments and there is silence - the stillness in the eye of the storm.

Join me next week, when I’ll be discussing some of our key staging choices!

6 Dec - 7 Jan

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Spring into 2017 at the Citz

We're beyond excited about our programme of work for Spring 2017. With a new production of Graham Greene’s Travels With My Aunt, a Brexit-inspired production from the National Theatre of Great Britain and shows from top theatre companies Cheek by Jowl and Kneehigh there's something for everyone in our newly-announced Spring 2017 Season - on sale now!

Citizens Theatre Spring 2017 season -

Speaking exclusively to The Herald, Artistic Director Dominic Hill spoke of the Spring 2017 season: "There's a lot of celebration of theatre in this season about what theatre can bring to people. The way the world is at the moment, I think there's no harm in trying to find some joy."

Read on to find out more about the fantastic shows we've got coming up at your local theatre from January - June 2017.

Cheek by Jowl tackle the countless hairpin turns in Shakespeare’s late masterpiece, from violence to farce, through multiple countries and over the course of 16 years, in a fiercely contemporary production.

Director Declan Donnellan and his cast take up Shakespeare’s most fundamental questions about redemption and forgiveness, testing the limits of hope and humanity in this tour-de-force interpretation. 

CUTTIN' A RUG 8 Feb - 4 Mar
Following our 2015 production of The Slab Boys, we'll be presenting the second installment of John Byrne’s much-loved trilogy, Cuttin’ A Rug. The play dives straight back in to the story, following the boys to the annual staff dance, still chasing the unobtainable Lucille and their dreams of life beyond the slab room.

A new festival of contemporary performance will take place in venues across Glasgow in Spring 2017 and we'll be hosting a Scottish artist with a new piece of work in our Circle Studio in March.

More information about the Somewhere New award recipient will be available in December.
The National Theatre of Great Britain has collaborated with seven UK theatre companies, including the Citizens Theatre, to talk to people across the country about the recent EU referendum.

The interviews will be woven together by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and National Theatre Artistic Director Rufus Norris to create a performance piece that will tour the country presenting the wide range of opinions that have been captured.

The various members of the eccentric Bliss family have each invited a guest to stay at their idyllic rural retreat. The house party turns disastrous as the hapless visitors become playthings in the Bliss’ self-made melodrama.

Dominic Hill will direct this funny and biting exploration of the games people play to avoid confronting the realities of life.

Retired bank manager and dahlia enthusiast Henry Pulling becomes newly acquainted with his septuagenarian Aunt Augusta at his mother’s funeral. Unable to resist the well-travelled Augusta’s powers of persuasion, Henry leaves suburban London with his new relative on a curiously glamourous trip across the world.

Giles Havergal’s hilarious adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel returns to the Citz having first being performed here in 1989. Director Phillip Breen returns to the Citz having previously directed True West, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and The Caretaker.

TRISTAN & YSEULT 30 May - 3 Jun
Kneehigh make their first visit to the Citizens Theatre with their playful and profound version of the ancient Cornish legend of fated lovers.

Circus performers, poetry, audience participation and live music spanning mambo, ballad, punk and opera are mashed together in this landmark production which has won fans across the world.

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

Tickets for all productions in our Spring 2017 season are available now to book online, or by calling our box office on 0141 429 0022. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

And So It Begins…Reflections on Week 1 of Hansel & Gretel Rehearsals

by Assistant Director Izzie Milne Turner

The first day of rehearsals is nerve wracking. Big challenges, new faces, and far too many names! On day 1 of Hansel & Gretel the room was packed to the brim: actors, creative team, crew and stage management all seated to witness the read through as our Christmas 2016 cast read Stuart Paterson's inventive adaptation of Hansel & Gretel aloud. It was a chance for the cast, creatives and crew to all be in the same room together before we all split off into our separate busy worlds for the next few weeks!

Our set designer and puppet master Rachael Canning unveiled the model box for Hansel & Gretel to gasps of delight. Her design embraced the carnivalesque world of the 1920's travelling circus - packed with rich visual treats and surprises. In true Citz style, Hansel & Gretel will be a complex and eccentric Christmas show - an exciting and tumultuous world of acrobats, magic forests and sorcery.

Citizens Theatre Artistic Director and Hansel & Gretel Director Dominic Hill was keen to get the cast up and moving. And once we got up we never sat down. The cast spent the rest of the week trying out things on their feet. Benedicte Seierup and Lucien Macdougal - the production’s talented and joyful movement directors - led several clowning workshops this week. These sessions were very physical and playful. It’s been wonderful to witness how these workshops have fostered a supportive and spirited ensemble that listen to each other, laugh with each other and bring the crackling energy a Christmas show like Hansel & Gretel needs.

On Wednesday Rachael led a puppetry workshop. Puppets will be an integral part of Hansel & Gretel’s world so the cast must be skilled at using them with grace and precision. Rachael taught us how to bring a puppet to life through breath, posture and by seeing the puppet as an extension of yourself, never separate. It was a great exercise in concentration and sensitivity.

As you can see a lot happened in week one: we broke the ice, learnt new skills and shared many laughs. In week two we’ve begun to explore the vibrant musical world of Hansel & Gretel, led by composer Nikola Kodjabashia and his impressive collection of instruments! Stay tuned for more on that in the next post!

6 Dec - 7 Jan

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Rivals arrives on the Citz stage

The Rivals have arrived on the Citz stage bringing with them sky-scraping wigs and decadent dresses. Oh, and some sheep...

Here’s a quick round up of the brilliant reviews the show has had since arriving here at the Citz: 

A glorious half-century of theatre history at the Citizens’ seems to have gone into the making of Dominic Hill’s exhilarating new production of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s great 1775 comedy of manners.” ★★★★★ The Scotsman

Henry Everett and Lee Mengo.  Photo by Mark Douet
The dialogue simply crackles with wit, and much thought has gone into the clever set design... highlighting the high production values and distinctive “house style” emerging from the Citizens in the last few seasons. So what seems like a witty, energetic romp has, on a closer look, its own depths and a message for our own times.” ★★★★½ Reviews Hub

If ever there was a play more perfectly suited to accommodate the Citizens Theatre's Artistic Director Dominic Hill's stylistic penchant for turning a play visibly inside out...  Richard Brinsley Sheridan's eighteenth century comedy of manners is hard to beat.” ★★★★ The Herald

"It is almost 250 years since Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan penned The Rivals but clever direction has kept it fresh and pawky. The actors hurtled through the script like an express train yet not one nuance was lost... Genuinely there wasn’t a single below par performance from any of this 11-strong cast. This may be a period comedy but there is nothing modern in the country to rival it at the moment."  ★★★★ The Daily Record

Jessica Hardwick and Lucy Briggs-Owen. Photo by Mark Douet
The Rivals is a co-production with our friends at Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. Critics and audiences across UK agree – it's a show you won’t want to miss!

“In its bold casualness it’s ingenious and insouciant, observing the time-honoured subversive spirit of the play and ensuring that everything feels like it’s happening in the moment” The Telegraph ★★★★★

“The Rivals is an uproarious production with a script as sharp as ever, bolstered by a terrific cast” Bristol Post ★★★★★

“True to Sheridan and alive to today, this is a delight” The Times ★★★★

“fun in spades” WhatsOnStage ★★★★

There’s still time to nab yourself a ticket, plus we’ve got some special one-off events planned in the coming weeks:
Come along on Tuesday 15 November for a post-show talk. Stay after the performance for a chance to put questions to the cast and hear more about the show.
If a matinee is more your style, then why not come along to Tea & Scandal: The Rivals Lunch on Saturday 19 November at 12.30pm. Director Dominic Hill will share the gossip about how he staged this 18th century comedy and discuss the enduring appeal of Sheridan’s masterpiece.

The Rivals is on stage at the Citizens Theatre until 19 Nov 2016

Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Rivals: Behind the scenes with Jessica Hardwick

The Rivals, a co-production between the Citizens Theatre, Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, has received glowing reviews so far on tour. Directed by our Artistic Director Dominic Hill, this beautiful and hilarious comedy of manners plays at the Citz from 2 - 19 November.

During the tour, actor Jessica Hardwick (Lanark: A Life in Three Acts, Rapunzel, Crime and Punishment and Miss Julie) has been busy behind the scenes capturing beautiful photographs of her castmates and their spectacular period costumes and wigs designed by Tom Rogers

The Rivals. Photo by Jessica Hardwick.
Lucy Briggs-Owen 

The Rivals. Photo by Jessica Hardwick.
Lily Donovan

The Rivals. Photo by Jessica Hardwick.
Lucy Briggs-Owen

The Rivals. Photo by Jessica Hardwick.
Desmond Barrit

The Rivals. Photo by Jessica Hardwick.
Shaun Miller 

The Rivals. Photo by Jessica Hardwick.
Rhys Rusbatch

The Rivals. Photo by Jessica Hardwick.
Lily Donovan

The Rivals. Photo by Jessica Hardwick.

The Rivals is on stage at the Citizens Theatre from 2 - 19 Nov 2016