Monday, 15 January 2018

Scotland and the Spanish Civil War

In the 1930s hundreds of military volunteers from across Scotland joined the Spanish Civil War’s legendary International Volunteer brigade. Our upcoming Circle Studio show 549: Scots of the Spanish CivilWar follows four miners who leave their homes in East Lothian to join the conflict.  

549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War
Book tickets

When author Mark Gillespie spotted the play in our Spring 2018 programme he got in touch to share his own connection to the International Volunteer Brigade. Mark’s great uncle, John Joseph Lynch, was one of the many Scottish volunteers that travelled to Spain to support the fight against fascism.

J.J.Lynch during his Royal Navy training. 
Mark has published a short book When the Gorbals fought Franco telling his great uncle's story. J.J.Lynch was born in Ireland but as a young boy his family moved to a tenement flat at 25 Hallside Place, in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. Aged just 20 he travelled to Europe where he fought in the battle of Jamara and Brunete - two of the bloodiest conflicts of the Spanish Civil War. In his book Mark explains how J.J.Lynch's experience growing up in the Gorbals shaped his political views.

When the Gorbals fought Franco.
  Buy a copy
If you'd like to find out more about J.J.Lynch's story you can buy a copy of When the Gorbals fought Franco for £5 in person at our Box Office or online now

549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War is presented by Wonder Fools in association with the Citizens Theatre and the Brunton Theatre. The play runs in our Circle Studio from 13 – 17 Feb. Tickets for most performances are now sold out. Visit for more information on all our Spring 2018 productions. 

Monday, 8 January 2018

Tribute to Tommy Smith

The Citizens Theatre would like to pay our respects to Tommy Smith, who sadly passed away in December 2017.
Tommy Smith

Tommy was born in Portugal Street, across the road from the Citizens Theatre, and became a highly-regarded self-taught Gorbals artist. We at the Citizens were privileged to get to know him when we discovered his true talent: as a vampire hunter.
L-R Tommy Smith, Tommy Donnelly, Kenny Hughes, Bob Hamilton, Joseph Curran. Credit Tim Morozzo.

Tommy became an important part of our 2016 Community Production, 'The Gorbals Vampire', sharing with us his recollections of this legendary event that took place in the Southern Necropolis in 1954. He painted a particularly vivid picture of a night when 100s of local schoolchildren, armed with makeshift weapons, hunted down the mythical 7-foot tall 'man with the iron teeth'. 

The Gorbals Vampire publicity image by artist Frank Quitely. Buy a copy

Tommy had been seven years old at the time, taking his place alongside all the other brave children, proudly toting his Tomahawk made out of a stick and a baked bean can. He lived to tell this tale, along with many others tales of growing up in the Gorbals which will be treasured by those that met him and retold for many years to come.
Hear more from Tommy and some other vampire hunters: