Frances Rose Kelly Tribute

Everyone at the Citizens Theatre was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Frances Rose Kelly, one of the longest serving members of our Community Company and a well kent Gorbals resident. She regularly appeared on our stages and was one of our most prolific participants for over a decade. Our Community Drama Director Neil Packham, and Community Drama Artist Elly Goodman, pay this tribute on behalf of the company.

 My Clydeside Valentine

Sadly, Fran passed away on the 17th February 2023, at the age of just 56 - having been diagnosed with terminal cancer at the end of January. However, she wanted her life to be celebrated, not mourned. 

Fran found the Citizens Theatre in 2003. She looked down on the theatre from her high rise flat opposite, wondering what went on inside. From the moment she entered the building, it became her second home, appearing in 31 projects over the next 12 years.

Fran in the Grapes of Wrath

She appeared countless times on the stage of the Circle Studio for Wicked Christmas, My Clydeside Valentine, Court of Miracles (hunchback of Notre Dame), House of Murders and many other productions, where she would contribute her clever and often wicked writing, be it a script, poem or song. She also owned the mainstage, in community productions of Ice Cream Dreams, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and Grapes of Wrath. She even managed to get centre stage in the bow at the Citizens Theatre’s 70th Anniversary event, amongst many other Citz luminaries!

Fran in Wicked Christmas

She always gave 100 percent to whatever character she played, be it a nurse, witch, prostitute, fairy, scorned wife, child, Maw, a pirate, a car salesman or a Bay City Rollers fan! She handled them all with flair, ease and professionalism.

Fran travelled with us internationally to Sweden and The Netherlands. It was in Rotterdam we met the first nation theatre company Debajehmujig and we believe it was down to her that our partnership flourished. Their show was called Global Savages and they loved her straight away, when she proclaimed, ‘wait till ye see me with ma teeth oot, I’m a Gorbals savage!’. They went on to work with us to create On Common Ground, performed outdoors in the Gorbals Rose Garden, in the summer of 2014, as part of Festival 2014, when Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games.

Fran in On Common Ground, 2014
Fran was a complete one off, talented in so many ways, with a huge heart - and it was a privilege to know her. There was a time when everyone at the Citz knew Fran, particularly the actors she flirted with at stage door as they joined her for a fag. 

It’s a pity Frances Rose Kelly won’t physically be around to see the stunning, redeveloped Citizens Theatre re-open - but we’re sure she’ll be looking down on us again and when those doors open, she’ll somehow find a way to get herself back on that stage.


rubypips said…
Lovely vibrant feisty Fran il never forget you .Your wonderful performances engaging the people.
I bumped into you Glasgow Green 1st lockdown Year and we had such a warm funny conversation .il remember your spirit and wit . love from Jane .x
Bernie Logue said…
Was proud to be able to call her a friend, she even tuned in to my radio show. God bless you Fran, you'll be sorely missed ❤️

Bernie Logue