A wealth of famous faces, including Blythe Duff and Elaine C Smith, attended the star-studded Citizens Theatre Gala Dinner held last night (Thursday 26th October) in the Galvanizers Hall at Glasgow’s SWG3.

More than 300 guests attended the event, hosted by broadcaster Janice Forsyth, for the launch of the theatre’s ‘We Are Citizens’ campaign which will inspire, engage and encourage others to help raise the final £1.7 million needed for the building redevelopment. The campaign got off to a flying start thanks to the support of a number of generous bidders in an auction, led by guest auctioneer Elaine C Smith. More than £70,000 was raised at the event for the theatre’s redevelopment project. Guests, including former Citizens Theatre Artistic Director Giles Havergal, actor Sanjeev Kohli and actresses Celia Imrie and Fidelis Morgan, were entertained by Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross; actors Neshla Caplan and Ryan Fletcher singing songs from The Choir; and a musical performance from students of Royal Conservatoire Scotland.

The Citizens Theatre is embarking on an exciting £19.5 million project to repair, conserve and transform its much loved home in the Gorbals. It will be the most comprehensive redevelopment of the category B listed building in its 139 year history. Plans include renovating the auditorium; knocking down the front of house building to make way for a spacious new foyer with a bar and café; creating a 152 seat studio and providing extra space for the Citizens Learning activities. The project will transform the experiences of audiences, participants and performers and secure the future of one of Scotland’s iconic buildings.

Dominic Hill, Artistic Director, Citizens Theatre said: “Our vision is to preserve our past, whilst securing our future. This project will create a building which honours and celebrates the remarkable history of this theatre, while remaining a vibrant and vital landmark in our community.

“The Citizens’ work on stage has long been celebrated for being bold, innovative and accessible to people from all walks of life, and I’m looking forward to working in a building that reflects that philosophy.

“Our Gala Dinner was a truly wonderful occasion and a fantastic opportunity to raise crucial funds for one of Scotland’s leading cultural institutions. We are hoping that the people of Glasgow and beyond will get behind our We Are Citizens campaign.”

Taggart star Blythe Duff, who most recently appeared on stage at the Citizens during its 70th anniversary season in the 5 star Into That Darkness in 2015, said: “I first appeared on the Citz stage back in 1995 and what has always struck me when I step out on that stage is the intimacy of the auditorium. The ability for me to be able to connect with Citizens audiences is very powerful especially in plays such as Ciara, a solo play, and as journalist Gita Sereny in the chilling and shocking Into That Darkness. To know that the building will be transformed but still maintain its Victorian roots is very important to me. The Citizens Theatre is a key character in Glasgow’s story and that’s why I’m supporting the We Are Citizens campaign.”

Actress and comedian Elaine C Smith, an Ambassador for the Citizens, said: “The Citizens is a theatre that is an integral part of the fabric of this city – artistically and culturally. I have appeared on stage at the Citizens Theatre many times over the last 30 years. It has to survive and flourish and that’s why I’m supporting the We Are Citizens fundraising campaign.”

The Gala Dinner was supported by Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery.

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