John Vallance Tribute
|John performing in Come Hell or High Water|
The Citizens Theatre Creative Learning Team are hugely saddened by the news that the talented community actor, musician and poet, John Vallance has passed away. When John entered a room, he had a distinct, calming, presence, emanating warmth and a sense of fun that would inevitably lighten the atmosphere. John had an engaging smile and an infectious laugh, and was always willing to share an intriguing tale, philosophical thoughts, and a favourite biscuit or two.
When we think about John, we instantly smile because he conjures up feelings of all that is good. He was a well-kent face in the Gorbals, wise and funny, much liked and respected. He liked to be kept busy and was in and about many of the local community groups. He loved music, theatre, the men’s group, and his meetings, to name but a few. John was the epitome of ‘community spirited’.
|John in rehearsals for community production Come Hell or High Water|
John had been part of the Citizens Theatre for some years and was a regular member of the Community Collective. He had a passion for performing and loved to take part in the weekly group sessions. He was involved in multiple performance projects, including main stage and studio theatre productions. John was a brilliant and supportive member of the Come Hell or High Water and A Night to Remember casts. He attended night school, an evening acting class that he excelled in. His end-of-term performance in the class’s version of Stephen Greenhorn’s ‘Passing places’ was especially memorable, with John playing a sinister character with depth and authenticity. His performances could also be light, joyful, and comedic, as he regularly demonstrated in our annual Winter Warmers at the Gorbals Church.
|John taking part in the Winter Warmer outdoors|
John’s love of performing continued over the years and we remember with fondness his playfulness during the Citz Community Collective 20th Anniversary celebrations, where he excelled in a featured solo dance in the group flash mob. This then became a duet with Tricia McConalogue, the former manager of Bridging the Gap, who he had a great friendship with. We’ll not forget the joy on his face that day – he was in his element shimmying down the catwalk!
Lockdown was understandably hard for the Community Collective, with no opportunity for the group to make live theatre while all in a room together. However, this did not deter John, and he joined us for our weekly creative Zoom meet ups. We made a point of visiting folk in person each week where, while on a live feed, they performed a piece of theatre in their doorway before being awarded our version of an ‘Oscar’ for their creative efforts. You can see John with his award in the photo below.
|John receiving his doorstep Oscar during lockdown|
John also wrote powerful poetry that explored poverty, crime, addiction, and the plight of people going through the Asylum system. His poignant and heartfelt words landed especially powerfully when speaking of others who were going through difficulties.
When we returned to live in-person work again, John continued being part of the Community Collective. He was with us every week until the end of March this year. His last contribution was when he co-wrote and recorded the group song ‘The Original Cast’ at the Gorbals Sound recording studio. The song was about the Citizens statues, which will return to the façade of the building when it reopens next year. It was around this time that his illness was getting the better of him; he’d pop in for a coffee at the weekly Com Co sessions but wouldn’t stay for long because of tiredness. He was brave enough to make a poignant share regarding his illness and prognosis. This had a profound effect on the group, because John meant so much to all of us.
|John performing at the Winter Warmer at Gorbals Parish Church|
We are very sad that John has left us. He was wonderful to work with, honest, committed and prepared to give his all. We will remember him with great affection and will leave out extra biscuits at the Community Collective in his memory.