Citizens Theatre's iconic statues: Part 3 From restoration to glorious return

A pivotal moment

Over the weekend of 19-20 August, our six iconic statues returned to the roof of the theatre; a momentous step as our redevelopment project enters its final phase, with reopening planned for 2024. An incredible amount of teamwork went into the historic lift which started during the week. Scottish sculptor, David J Mitchell, visited the site to give the statues a final tidy-up before their big moment.

You can read more about the restoration process in part 2 of our statues series.

David J Mitchell prepairing the statues. Photo by Graham Sutherland.

Project contractors Kier brought in a specialist lifting team, Synergy, (and a very big crane!). Along with some very enthusiastic support from Citz staff, Gorbals residents and onlookers walking along Gorbals Street, the statues were lifted safely into position. Even the Glasgow weather behaved, despite threats of high winds in the morning!

Ready for an exciting day on site!

Guardians of art and community


For many, the Citz statues are more than just ornaments or parts of a building. They are woven into the memories of countless theatregoers and local residents - whether you remember them from the joint façade with the Palace Theatre, or from brushing past them in the Citz foyer whilst getting a pre-show drink.

Once building work is complete, the statues will sit alongside pink neon and black brick – blending the new with the old in a way that seamlessly marries our heritage with a contemporary and exciting future. Our redevelopment will deliver spaces and experiences full of character which reflect the unique nature of the theatre building and company.

Photo by Mark Liddell

For decades, the statues have stood as witnesses to the captivating performances, laughter of friends, and shared moments between strangers that we have hosted. As they regain their rightful positions atop the newly redeveloped building, they rekindle their role as guardians, watching over actors, audiences, and the lively, ever evolving Gorbals landscape.

An ensemble on the roof

The six stone statues, lovingly restored, include the Greek goddesses Melpomene, Thalia, Euterpe, and Terpsichore - representing tragedy, comedy, poetry and song, and dance. The quartet is joined by the literary giants Robert Burns and William Shakespeare. Together, the statues represent the rich artistic expression that has been part of the theatre since its inception in 1878. You can read more about the history of the statues which have survived fire and demolition in part 1 of our statues series.

Shakespeare leaving the old facade in 1977 and returning in 2023

Preserving Heritage, Expanding Access

The redevelopment not only safeguards our beautiful theatre’s history, but also enhances accessibility and secures its future for generations to come. Original Victorian features, including the paint frame and rare nineteenth-century stage machinery, will soon be accessible to view by visitors, allowing them to engage with our theatre's past in a more immersive way.


Photo by Mark Liddell

We are incredibly proud to have been part of this moment of Citz history by honouring its past whilst also looking forward to inviting audiences and visitors to engage with us in the future in new and exciting ways.

We cannot wait to get home! Visit our website to find out more about the redevelopment.