Friday 6 March 2015


Citizens Theatre enters the final stages of its anti-sectarianism project with North Lanarkshire primary schools, Divided City, with special guests Glasgow City Football Club in attendance at the performance taking place in St Bartholomew’s Primary School on Tuesday 10 March at 6.30pm.

Delivered in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council Learning and Leisure Services, and with funding from the Scottish Government, this phase of the Divided City project has had its widest reach yet, with 1,500 pupils from Airdrie, Bellshill, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth, Motherwell, Schotts and Wishaw engaging with the project. A further 8,000 young people and adults will have enjoyed the performances from when the project began in the region in January 2014 until its final stages in March 2015.

Glasgow City Football Club play in the Scottish Women’s Premier League and are the undisputed national champions having won the last eight Premier League titles in a row. They represent Scotland in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Divided City is based on Theresa Breslin’s award-winning novel exploring religious tension and sectarianism. It tells the story of two Glasgow boys, one Celtic fan and one Rangers fan, who find themselves drawn into a secret pact to help a young asylum seeker when all they really want to do is play football for Glasgow City. Religious tension and prejudice in Glasgow and the more recent bigotry faced by asylum seekers in the city are examined and challenged, with young people offered alternative ways of co-existing.

44 Primary 7 classes (both denominational and non-denominational) have been working together in pairs over 10 weeks rehearsing the play and undertaking additional classroom sessions exploring sectarianism and its effects on their community. By the end of this project 10,000 young people, their teachers and families are expected to have engaged with the North Lanarkshire phase of Divided City.

The production is one of a kind, as Associate Director(Citizens Learning), Guy Hollands explains: “Religious intolerance and sectarianism are issues that continue to affect young people in Scotland today and we believe that drama provides a unique way of exploring those conflicts. Not only have participants benefited from the experience of taking part in a fully-staged production on stage, but evaluation undertaken as part of previous projects demonstrates a tangible shift in attitude and the response from audiences far exceeding our expectations. We are delighted to have been able to share its powerful message with so many audiences and young people through our partnership with North Lanarkshire Council Learning and Leisure Services.” 

Andrew Sutherland Executive Director, Learning and Leisure Services added: “In our modern society, there is no place for religious intolerance. The Divided City project taking place in our schools creates a context for young people, parents and teachers to better understand and challenge the roots and evil of sectarianism. Improved tolerance and empathy develop from high quality educational and cultural programmes. The Divided City project is to be commended because it influences a positive step change in removing any residue of prejudice toward fellow human beings and leads towards a better and more inclusive society in Scotland.”

Laura Montgomery Club Manager of Glasgow City FC said, “As we are about to play our Champions League Quarter Final against Paris Saint-Germain, it is a great time to use football as a medium to unite the people of our city and Scotland in enjoying and supporting our national sport. There is no place for sectarianism in any walk of life and hopefully a successful club like ours can help highlight to many young people that life is about diversity, inclusion and respect for difference.”



For more information and to request images or tickets, please contact Claire Lowney, Marketing Assistant 0141 418 6232.



A short documentary film about the production is available to view on the Citizens Theatre’s YouTube Channel:

Critical Acclaim
Divided City has been shortlisted for 10 different children’s book awards and is studied widely by school children.

Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs
“I would like to commend the Citizens Theatre and the schools and pupils of North Lanarkshire on creating their own versions of Divided City…. projects like Divided City clearly demonstrate that by working together we can finally lay rest to the spectre of sectarianism..”

John Mason, MSP, Glasgow Shettleston
“I thought the performance was tremendous, especially with the enthusiasm of the young people taking part…a very serious subject dealt with extremely well.”

Claudia Beamish, MSP, South Scotland
“a wonderful performance encapsulating the important themes from the book and acted, staged and sung brilliantly. You should all be rightly proud of your hard work and achievements and know that your efforts very much paid off. Your contribution will help many to understand this issue better.”

Janette Cochran Gervaise *****
“I thoroughly enjoyed the production of “Divided City” and the positive message it portrayed. It highlighted the importance of seeing the person and being tolerant and accepting of differences. I am a Staff Nurse in a High Dependency Unit that has to deal, all too often, with the victims of racial and sectarian violence. I believe that lives will be saved by educating the young in this way.”
Transitus High School of Glasgow *****
“We saw the play last night and thought it was exhilarating! The cast were superb, particularly the Joes and Grahams! The fact the cast were only slightly older than us made it very impressive. This is a well rehearsed and amazing production, and we would advise anyone who cares about sectarianism in Glasgow to go and see it, to learn more about it.”

What the participants said…
“This show has really inspired and changed my life, I have learned so many new things and had an amazing experience.”
“I enjoyed this so much. Projects like these are so important because they give young people the chance to experience new things and make new friends. This will stay with me forever.”
“This show has taught me so much. It has changed my views on a lot of things. It has changed me as a person and made me much more confident.”
“I love how not only do we learn how serious sectarianism is, we also get to act it out and show others.”

Creative Team
Written by Theresa Breslin
Adapted by Martin Travers
Directed by Guy Hollands and Elly Goodman
Original music by Claire McKenzie
Designed by Carter Ferguson

Divided City
Published in 2005 by Random House Children’s Books, Divided City is a story of prejudice and friendship following two boys on and off the football pitch. It has won two major literary awards, been shortlisted for a further eight and garnered critical acclaim. In 2008, it was chosen for the Irish One Book Cross Border Community Reading Project funded by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation.

Theresa Breslin
Theresa Breslin is the critically acclaimed multi-award winner author of over 30 books for young people whose work has appeared on television and radio and is read world-wide in many languages. A former mobile librarian, Theresa won the Carnegie Medal for Whispers in the Graveyard, her compelling novel about a dyslexic boy, and this year won the Carnegie Medal Children’s vote. Recently one of her books set the Guinness UK record for the longest Reading Chain. In Divided City, Theresa dedicates “This book is for Glasgow.”  Visit or .

Divided City at the Citizens Theatre
Divided City was first performed in 2011 at the Citizens Theatre. Support from the Scottish Government enabled the project to travel to South Lanarkshire in 2013 and North Lanarkshire in 2014-2015.

The Citizens Theatre is an iconic venue and theatre company based in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, Scotland. The Citizens company was founded in 1943 by James Bridie and the Citizens Theatre was permanently established in 1945. Since then it has been one of Scotland’s flagship producing theatres. The Theatre has a strong reputation for delivering a pioneering range of creative participatory projects and places a special emphasis on work with children, young people and socially excluded adults.  By placing arts, culture and creativity at the heart of learning the theatre seeks to provide opportunities at the theatre and in communities and schools across Scotland, for young people and adults to engage with drama. The Citizens celebrates its 70th anniversary in its Gorbals home in 2015.

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