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Citizen's Theatre, 119 Gorbals Street, Glasgow

A Category B Listed Building in Glasgow, Glasgow

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Latitude: 55.8508 / 55°51'2"N

Longitude: -4.2529 / 4°15'10"W

OS Eastings: 259055

OS Northings: 664253

OS Grid: NS590642

Mapcode National: GBR 0LQ.YD

Mapcode Global: WH3P8.N60J

Plus Code: 9C7QVP2W+8R

Entry Name: Citizen's Theatre, 119 Gorbals Street, Glasgow

Listing Name: 119 Gorbals Street Citizens Theatre

Listing Date: 15 December 1970

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 377246

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB33512

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Glasgow

County: Glasgow

Town: Glasgow

Electoral Ward: Southside Central

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

Tagged with: Theatre

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Auditorium: Campbell Douglas 1878, altered by A Skirving 1887 with decoration by Joseph Sharp. Proscenium decorated by T Lawrie, 1895. Exterior by James Sellars destroyed 1977, leaving rubble walls. Building Design Partnership 1989, façade and foyer addition. Further later additions. Important survival of auditorium with early stage machinery and operational paint frame (see Notes).

PRINCIPAL (GORBALS STREET) ELEVATION: 2-storey yellow and banded grey brick elevation forming part of wider office development wraps around south elevation. Central glazed entrance doors in gabled bay breaking eaves with flanking porthole windows. Central 3 bays with glazed canopy and 1st floor largely glazed. Overhanging eaves, slate roofs. Wide rubble gable of auditorium visible behind.

INTERIOR: 1989 foyer with pitched glazed roof contains 6 statues by John Mossman (see Notes). Further statuary from now-demolished adjacent Palace Theatre in foyer and bar. Auditorium with 2 horseshoe balconies with fine plasterwork supported by cast iron columns with decorative capitals. 2 elaborately decorated boxes flank the raked stage which has a simple pilastered proscenium. Understage area contains important early timber stage machinery. Backstage includes brick area containing rare operational paint frame with early machinery.

Statement of Interest

Although Sellars impressive classical façade was destroyed in 1977, the Citizens Theatre contains an important early auditorium of 1878 by Campbell Douglas along with the rare survival of timber understage machinery and a rare operational paint frame.

It was built as Her Majesty's Theatre but quickly changed its name to the Royal Princesses Theatre. It was located adjacent to the Palace Theatre which was demolished in 1977, although elephant's head carvings and goddess statues were rescued from the Palace's renowned interior, and are now located within the Citizens Theatre. Similarly, the Mossman statues which had been relocated from David Hamilton's Union Bank of 1841 in Ingram Street and incorporated into Sellars design on the parapet of the theatre were rescued when the façade was destroyed in 1977 and are now located in the foyer. They depict the four muses along with Burns and Shakespeare.

The interior decoration is by Joseph Sharp and was overhauled in 1883, by J F Edgar and C S Finlay, and in 1887 by Alexander Skirving, A Dunbar, and J Sharp, and the proscenium was decorated in 1895 by Thomas Lawrie.

The paint frame allows scene painters to scroll huge canvases up and down with ease to paint backcloths for sets and it would have once been a common feature in producing theatres. At the Citizens it remains in use to this day.

The Citizens Theatre Company was formed in 1943 and it was originally based at the Old Athenaeum Theatre in Buchanan Street (see separate listing). The Royal Princesses Theatre was leased in 1945 to the Citizens Theatre who renamed it and have since remained there.

References from previous list description: M Hay Glasgow's Theatres and Music Halls. A guide (1980) p108/9. Information by Courtesy of Buildings of Scotland Research Unit.

List description updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010.

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