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Lanark: A Life in Three Acts

Citizens Theatre


A new adaptation by David Greig of Alasdair Gray‘s seminal novel Lanark, directed by Graham Eatough.

A young man arrives in a dying city with seashells in his pockets. He doesn’t know who he is, or how he got here. He goes by the only name he can think of: Lanark.

Yearning to belong, he meets Rima at The Elite Café and together they are propelled into an epic journey through time, space and consciousness as Lanark tries, fails and tries again to find happiness.

Lanark is a portrait of the outsider artist as a young man, an exploded life story like no other. This theatrical re-imagining of Alasdair Gray’s classic novel will take us from the Dragon Chambers to the Cathedral of Unthank, from post-war Glasgow School of Art to the sinister underground Institute, from the heavenly city of Provan to the hellish Elite Café, combining science-fiction, realism, fantasy, and playful storytelling.

In the nearly 35 years since publication, the ideas, politics and ambitions of Lanark have inspired generations of artists in Scotland and beyond. This new co-production with Edinburgh International Festival celebrates Gray’s 80th year and continues a collaboration between Greig and Eatough which began with experimental theatre company Suspect Culture.

Lanark: A Life in Three Acts is a co-production between The Citizens Theatre and the Edinburgh International Festival in association with Graham Eatough and Sorcha Dallas.

Lanark will be staged at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh from 22 - 31 August. For more information, visit the EIF website.

Recommended for 14+ (scenes of a sexual nature)
This production contains flashing and strobe lights

“I ought to have more love before I die, I have not had enough.”

Main Theatre

View seating plan

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    Rated: (5/5), based on 1 rating

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Previews15 & 17 Aug
Audio Described: 16 Sep, 7pm
Signed: 18 Sep, 7pm
Captioned: 19 Sep, 1pm

Wheelchair Access
Guide Dogs welcome
Induction Loop


Adapted from the novel by Alasdair Gray
Writer - David Greig
Director - Graham Eatough
Designer - Laura Hopkins
Lighting Designer - Nigel Edwards
Composer - Nick Powell
Video Artist - Simon Wainwright
Choreographer/Movement Director - EJ Boyle

Andy Clark
George Drennan
Sandy Grierson
Jessica Hardwick
Paul Thomas Hickey
Louise Ludgate
Helen Mackay
Gerry Mulgrew
Camrie Palmer
Ewan Somers

Lanark Curtain Raiser

Sat 12 Sep, 5.15pm - 6.15pm
Director Graham Eatough and guests discuss the inspiration behind this new production.


Brunch With Lanark

Sat 19 Sep, 11am - 12.30pm
Discover more about how this new production by writer David Greig and director Graham Eatough has been brought to the stage
Includes buffet brunch.



The Scotsman ★★★★★

‘Mind-bending and brilliant’
Scottish Daily Mail ★★★★★

‘astounding piece of theatre produced on an operatic and highly physical scale.’
Edinburgh Guide★★★★★

‘visually and aurally arresting’
The Observer★★★★

‘superbly drilled and exhilaratingly confident piece of ensemble theatre.’
The Financial Times★★★★

‘this is Scottish theatre at its peak of ambition and class.’
TV Bomb★★★★

‘Lanark is loud, large and visually stunning.’
The List★★★★

‘as hypnotic as it is strange and refreshingly unusual.
What’s On Stage

‘all of the excitement and weight of a capital-letter Theatre Event.’
All Edinburgh Theatre★★★★

‘like a heady, unsettling, unpredictable dream.’
The Guardian★★★★

‘undeniably modernist and quintessentially Scottish’
The Telegraph★★★★

‘Lanark on stage is a fine tribute to the novel…appreciated both by those who know the book and others who might be tempted to give it a try.
British Theatre Guide★★★★

‘a moving elegy for life and art.’
The Herald★★★★

‘A landmark event’.
The Stage ★★★★

‘rich in exhilarating set pieces’
The Times★★★



‘Gray’s presence in Glasgow is persistent and mercurial’ Graham Eatough and David Greig speak to the New Yorker about Gray’s iconic work Lanark
The New Yorker

“It is appropriate in Alasdair’s 80th year that this great novel gets to shine on the world stage.” Graham Eatough talks about bringing Lanark to Edinburgh International Festival. The Times

‘It’s wild and heroic’ Writer David Greig and director Graham Eatough describe the challenges that come with staging Lanark. The Guardian

The Citizens seemed like an ideal home for it, partly to do with the scale of the piece, but also because of its history and the cultural role it has played in the city. Director Graham Eatough talks about bringing Lanark to the stage. The Herald

”(Lanark is) like a great door opening in my mind, onto a different possible creative future.” Writer David Greig reveals his first impressions of Lanark to The Scotsman

”(Alasdair Gray) is a figure who made it OK to stay in Glasgow and have an international career”
Sorcha Dallas, art agent for Alasdair Gray on his influence in The List


Helen Cassidy

11th September 2015

I knew nothing about Lanark having never read it. I foolishly thought it would be a worthy (but not so scintillating) Scottish drama. The kind you're supposed to see but don't love. How wrong I was! With echoes of a theatrical event as big and bold as Angels in America, there was lots to love: set, script, cast, music, lighting and direction. Go see it!

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Artwork: Night Street Self-Portrait by Alasdair Gray (1953)

Deaf Theatre Club: Fri 18 Sep

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, we want to make sure you can enjoy the best night out at the Citizens Theatre. Find out more about the Deaf Theatre Club.


Lanark: A Life in Four Books for only £9!