One of the best-loved works in twentieth-century Scottish theatre is to be revived in a major new production directed by David Hayman, launching a special season to mark the 70th anniversary of the company’s home in the Gorbals.

Written by playwright and artist John Byrne in 1978 as the first installment of a trilogy, The Slab Boys is a semi-autobiographical play set in the claustrophobic slab room of a Paisley carpet factory in 1957. Focusing on a day in the life of a bantering pair of adolescent factory workers, Byrne’s realistic depiction of working-class youth culture in post-war industrial Scotland is regarded as a landmark play in Scottish theatre.

The Slab Boys will form part of a celebratory programme to mark the Citizens’ 70th anniversary and sees two major figures of the Scottish cultural scene reunited to work on an iconic work which has influenced a generation of writers in Scotland, and was named by the National Library of Scotland as one of the 12 key plays of the last 40 years.

As with the original, this new production will be directed by actor and director David Hayman. Hayman has a long association with the Citizens Theatre, appearing as a regular member of the company during the 1970s and recently returned to the Citizens’ stage as King Lear in 2012. Hayman will also join the cast as Mr Currie, the gaffer of the slab room. Fresh from a major retrospective of his work at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Byrne will also join the re-united original creative team as the production’s designer.

Dominic Hill, Artistic Director commented:
“70 years is a significant milestone in the unique history of this theatre and we wanted to kick off our celebrations in 2015 with a Scottish play that resonates with Glasgow audiences. The Slab Boys is the perfect fit. To be able to bring David and John, the creators of the original production, together again to re-create the play for our anniversary season, makes this show a must-see event in what is going to be a year filled with exciting productions that celebrate the best of the Citizens Theatre past and present.”

David Hayman commented:
“I’m utterly thrilled to be coming back to the Citz as a director and performer – the place where I spent the first and happy creative years of my career – and a privilege to be working again with the great John Byrne who is designing the show. It is especially exciting to be revisiting The Slab Boys which is one of the most important and iconic pieces of theatre to come out of Scotland in the last 30 years. It is a celebration of working class life, a wonderful story of high hopes and lost dreams.”
Following the run at the Glasgow theatre, the production will transfer to King’s Theatre, Edinburgh. More details of the 70th anniversary programme will be announced in Autumn 2014.


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Tickets for performances at King’s Theatre Edinburgh are on sale to Friends on Friday 22 August. General sale opens on Monday 1 September.

Tickets for performances at the Citizens Theatre will go on sale in late Autumn 2014, when the full 70th anniversary programme will be announced.

Citizens Theatre presents
By John Byrne
Directed by David Hayman
Designed by John Byrne

Citizens Theatre Dates: 12 Feb – 7 March, 2015
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh Dates: 10-14 March, 2015

Citizens Theatre Box Office: 0141 429 0022 or (tickets on sale Autumn 2014)
Kings Theatre Edinburgh Box Office: 0141 529 6000 or

70th Anniversary
Founded by James Bridie in 1943, the Citizens Company moved to the Royal Princesses Theatre on Gorbals Street in 1945, changing its name to the Citizens Theatre and becoming one of the country’s flagship producing theatres over its 70-year history. Plans for a major re-development of the building, the most comprehensive since it was opened in 1878, were announced in February 2013. Building work to create new front of house, rehearsal, learning and office spaces is planned to commence in Autumn 2016.

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