Today, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon joined Leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken to mark work starting on site for a major redevelopment of the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. The redeveloped building will transform the experiences of audiences, participants and performers and secure the future of one of Scotland’s most iconic buildings and leading producing theatres.

The project designed by Bennetts Associates will be the most comprehensive redevelopment of the category B listed building in its 140-year history, re-designing an ageing and vulnerable building into a vibrant cultural venue for communities across Scotland. Constructed by Kier Regional Building, it will deliver improved accessibility, secure the heritage of its unique Victorian features and offer new bar and café facilities as well as rehearsal, learning and studio spaces. The redevelopment is a 2-year construction project. The building will re-open in 2021. Key funders of the circa £21.5 million project include the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Creative Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland. The Citizens Theatre’s fundraising campaign continues to secure donations from a variety of trusts and foundations and individuals.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister said:
“The Citizens Theatre is more than just a building. Over its 140 years it has hosted performers, welcomed audiences and been a genuine hub for the Gorbals community. The Citizens Theatre has a very special place in Scotland’s cultural landscape and I am delighted that, thanks to this joint investment including £4.5m from the Scottish Government, its future has been secured for generations to come.”

Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:The Citz is part of the very foundations of Glasgow’s cultural life, but also renowned and valued across the world for its stage productions and its community and education programmes.The investment made by the council and its partners is essential to ensure all of that work continues in the theatre’s iconic Gorbals home for generations to come – and I’m excited to see that future getting underway today.”

April Chamberlain, Chair, Citizens Theatre said:“Today is a key milestone in the much-needed redevelopment of the Citizens Theatre. Our iconic home in the heart of the Gorbals is known throughout Scotland and the world over, not just for the theatre we make but for our extensive community and participation work. Thanks to the vital support of our funders, the theatre is being secured for theatre-makers, audiences and the people of Glasgow. We can’t wait to move back in and start welcoming them back.”

The Citizens continues to present its work at Tramway and on tour across Scotland while the building is closed. Drama classes and learning activity take place at Scotland Street School Museum.

More information on the redevelopment can be found at

Key funders and project delivery partners also marked today’s important milestone:

James Nelmes, Director, Bennetts Associates, said:

“We are thrilled to see work commence on site at the Citizens Theatre. The project will deliver spaces and experiences full of character reflecting the unique and idiosyncratic nature of the Citz. Much of the hidden world behind the scenes will be accessible to audiences and visitors for the first time. Bennetts Associates has a long history of working in partnership with arts organisations to develop award-winning, vibrant cultural spaces and we look forward to seeing the new Citizens Theatre realised." 

Sean O’Callaghan, Operations Director, Kier Regional Building Scotland, said:
We are delighted to mark this important milestone as we begin work to restore, improve and safeguard the prestigious Citizens Theatre for future generations to enjoy. We have a wealth of experience in developing theatre and heritage projects and look forward to turning the vision into reality. Importantly, as with all the work we carry out, we will provide jobs for the local community by working with our supply chain to offer a range of diverse employment and training opportunities throughout this landmark project.”

Sir Peter Luff, Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“The Citizens Theatre has been the beating heart of Glasgow’s vibrant cultural scene for over 70 years. Today, vital National Lottery investment is not only ensuring this much-loved theatre - the oldest in Scotland - is restored and preserved, but is also helping to uncover and tell its diverse stories with a new generation of theatre-goers, enthusiasts and local people.”

Iain Munro, Acting Chief Executive, Creative Scotland said:

“The Citizens’ is one of Scotland’s most iconic theatre venues with innovation and excellence at its heart. With a significant international reputation, it is firmly rooted in the local community and with the support of £1.5m National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland, the Citizens Theatre can confidently look ahead to a new future as the cultural heart of the Laurieston regeneration project.”

Thomas Knowles, Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland, said:

We’re delighted to support The Citizen’s Theatre with £782,000 for historic fabric repairs to the building as part of our Historic Environment Repair Grant. This exciting redevelopment will enhance the iconic building, making it a cultural focus for the community and help build a sense of belonging and identity for local residents.”

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