The award-winning poet and writer, Jackie Kay has been appointed to the board of directors of the Citizens Theatre.

Jackie Kay has written fiction and non- fiction for children and adults and has also written for the stage, radio and television.

She is the author of—among other books—The Adoption Papers, which won the Forward Prize, Red Dust Road, winner of the Scottish Book of the Year Award, Trumpet, and the Costa-shortlisted Fiere. She was awarded a CBE in 2019 and made Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature in 2020. She is Chancellor of the University of Salford and Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She was named Scots Makar—the National Poet for Scotland—in March 2016.

Jackie’s appointment to the board comes as the theatre’s Redevelopment project continues apace on site in the Gorbals, with an anticipated re-opening in 2022.

Since the theatre building closed, the Citizens has continued to present its work at Tramway and on tour across Scotland. Since March 2020, it has adapted its pioneering learning programme, supporting isolated individuals and communities across Greater Glasgow during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as presenting digital theatre experiences for audiences to experience at home.

Artistic Director, Dominic Hill commented: “We were delighted when Jackie agreed to join the board of the Citizens Theatre. Not only will she bring her incredible talents as a writer, poet, and artist, but also her passion for social justice and the untold stories and experiences that need to be represented on stage. She is a hugely respected cultural figure in the UK and beyond, and we are excited to have her input as we look forward to re-opening the theatre building next year.”

April Chamberlain, Chair of the Citizens Theatre Board, commented: “It is with huge pleasure that I welcome Jackie to the board. She joins us at a significant time as we prepare to deliver our ambitious plans for the redeveloped Theatre. Jackie has a long association with the Citizens. Her parents were incredibly supportive of touring Scottish theatre and her father John, was a leading light on the board of Wildcat. Jackie and her parents enjoyed many visits to see productions at the Citz. I very much look forward to working with her." 

Jackie Kay commented: “I was thrilled to be asked to join the Citizens Theatre board. It is a theatre close to my heart and some of my earliest memories are of being taken there as a young girl by my parents. The very name and ethos, to be a theatre that engages people from all walks of life and communities across Scotland, chimes with me. I look forward to working with the staff and other board members on the current programme - and to a new era in Scottish theatre when the Citizens opens its magnificent new doors in 2022!”

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Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. THE ADOPTION PAPERS (Bloodaxe) won the Forward Prize, a Saltire prize and a Scottish Arts Council Prize. FIERE was shortlisted for the COSTA award and her novel TRUMPET won the Guardian Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the IMPAC award. RED DUST ROAD (Picador) won the Scottish Book of the Year Award, and the LONDON BOOK AWARD, and was shortlisted for the JR ACKERLEY prize. Her third collection of short stories, REALITY, REALITY, was praised by The Guardian as ‘rank[ing] among the best of the genre'. She was awarded a CBE in 2019 and made Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature in 2020. Her book of stories WISH I WAS HERE won the Decibel British Book Award.

Jackie Kay also writes for children and her book RED CHERRY RED (Bloomsbury) won the CLYPE award. She has written extensively for stage and television. Her plays, MANCHESTER LINES (produced by Manchester Library Theatre) and THE NEW MAW BROON MONOLOGUES (produced by Glasgay), were a great success. Her most recent collection, BANTAM, was published in 2017 to critical acclaim. She is Chancellor of the University of Salford and Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

Jackie Kay was named Scots Makar—the National Poet for Scotland—in March 2016.


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 theatre companies. The project designed by Bennetts Associates will be the most comprehensive redevelopment of the category B listed building since it opened in 1878, 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 building is anticipated to re-open in 2022. Key funders of the £22m project include Glasgow City Council, Scottish Government, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Creative Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.


The Citizens Theatre is Glasgow’s major producing theatre and one of the leading theatre companies in the UK. Over the last 75 years, the Citizens has built an international reputation for producing innovative shows on stage, alongside a highly regarded learning programme of participatory and education work. Led by Artistic Director, Dominic Hill who is regarded as having “a talent for classical drama which is genuinely world class.” (Daily Telegraph) and Executive Director, Alex McGowan, it presents bold new interpretations of classic texts that are accessible and relevant - and uniquely, where any member of the audience can attend a performance for as little as 50p. The theatre’s Victorian home in the Gorbals is currently closed while it undergoes a major redevelopment (see note above).

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