Friday, 22 May 2015

PJ Paparelli

Citizens Theatre staff are shocked and deeply saddened by the death of PJ Paparelli, Artistic Director of American Theatre Company in Chicago. PJ passed away on Thursday 21 May 2015 in Glasgow, following a road traffic accident. 
American Theater Company Artistic Director PJ Paparelli

PJ will be sadly missed by all those who met and worked with him during the time he spent at the Citizens last year developing his documentary play The Project(s). 

The Citizens Theatre staff send condolences to PJ’s family and friends, and to colleagues at the American Theatre Company. 

Friday, 15 May 2015

An insight into the work of a forensic clinical psychologist

As a dramatisation of interviews with a convicted Nazi war criminal, Into That Darkness looks into the very heart of evil and asks how, 70 years after the end of the Second World War, we can prevent atrocities of this scale from happening again.

Director Gareth Nicholls will be joined by forensic clinical psychologist, Anne Carpenter McKechnie, for a Curtain Raiser event on Thursday 21st May to discuss how individuals become capable of horrific crimes.

Here, Anne introduces her work and illuminates what we can learn from the study of criminals.

I trained first as a clinical psychologist and our role is in working with mental illness and abnormality, largely in health settings, treating problems such as depression, anxiety, psychotic illnesses, phobias etc. We are trained in the assessment and treatment of such conditions across all ages and abilities, including learning disability. I later qualified for recognition as a forensic psychologist and in this capacity am trained in the assessment and treatment of offending behaviour. A core part of the work of a forensic clinical psychologist is therefore explaining the link between mental illness or mental disorder and offending behaviour.

Society often becomes confused about the reasons why people commit extreme offences such as violent or sexual offences; we often want to label such people as "mad" because it reassures us that this was out of the ordinary and is therefore unlikely to happen on a regular basis. While some people may be "mad" i.e. suffering from a severe and enduring mental illness such as schizophrenia, others do not have illnesses that respond to medication or hospital treatment. Such people often have personality difficulties to such an extent that they are assessed as having a personality disorder; this means that they way they think, feel and behave is at odds with how the rest of their culture or society behave. A personality disorder diagnosis, be it Anti social, Psychopathic or Borderline is a way of describing someone who persistently and across all aspects of their life behaves in a way that sets them apart from others. Research on the assessment of risk of serious and sexual violence has identified that the presence of a personality disorder, particularly psychopathy, is the biggest indicator of potential future risk of repeat offending. It is therefore a core part of my work in the assessment of violent offenders to determine whether or not a personality disorder exists and to identity treatment and management plans for such individuals.

Director Gareth Nicholls in rehearsal with cast members Cliff Burnett, Blythe Duff and Ali Craig. Photo by Tim Morozzo.

When I was approached to work with Gareth and the cast I was delighted to be able to have the opportunity to share my 25 years of experience of working with offenders and individuals with severe personality difficulties. I was particularly struck that Gitta Sereny, not a trained psychologist but clearly a woman with a keen interest in the human condition, managed to successfully engage Stangl in the discussion of his life and offending. While I have never met anyone with the scale of offending which Stangl perpetrated, I have met many violent people (men and women) with personality disorders and have been able to engage them in work looking at the factors involved in their offending. I was able to discuss this with Blythe and Cliff and hope it helped them further their understanding and therefore portrayal of these interesting characters.

Anne will be speaking at our Into That Darkness: Curtain Raiser on Thursday 21 May at 6.00pm. Book via Box Office (0141 429 0022). £4/£3 concessions. For more information on Into That Darkness starring Blythe Duff and Cliff Burnett, head to

Friday, 8 May 2015

10 years young - Celebrating the Citizens Theatre Young Co.

Over sixteen productions, the Citizens Young Co. has supported young theatre makers by giving them the skills and opportunities to create work within a professional organisation. In the Young Co.'s 10th anniversary year, theatre director and blogger, Eve Nicol talks about her time in the early days of the company.


I had never been involved in school shows or youth theatres, but I had fallen in love with the Citizens Theatre on a school trip. I desperately wanted to learn more about how theatre companies made work for the stage.

I joined the Young Co. when I was 18. The group of teenagers who I met during my time with the Young Co. were the first of many young people the Citizens has supported since the company first began in 2005.

Experimenting on Woyzeck, Young Co. 2005.
We were a mixed bunch. The group was from a more diverse range of backgrounds and interests than I’d ever met at school or college. Spending hours together over the long periods required to create a show and we formed a firm group of friends. We learnt as much about each other as we did about theatre.

My time with the Young Co. made me aware of the variety of different jobs that were involved in getting a show to the stage. It wasn’t all about acting. The Learning team developed the work we did but we met all the other departments of the theatre who helped us get our ideas on stage. They kitted us out in costumes, helped to sell our show at the Box Office or conjured up stunning lighting designs that took our work to another level.

After our very first performance, everyone was hugging and screaming celebratory congratulations to each other in the theatre’s Circle Studio. I watched the celebrations from a step back. The feeling of pride in what we had created as an assorted bunch of teenagers who had only met each other two months ago was a greater feeling than any adrenaline of performing to an audience. I thought “we made this.” I took a photo of that moment and posted it all over our MySpace profiles.

The Chicago Project, Young Co. 2007. Photography by Iain G Farrell.

I left the Young Co. after four productions to go to university to study theatre. This choice would never have been made without the confidence my experience with the Young Co. gave me. Ten years on and sixteen Young Co. productions later, I’ve been working in theatre for over three years, doing now just as I did then – sharing the excitement of theatre on social media and creating my own work for the kind of intimate theatre spaces where I first found my feet.

This Is What We Ask, Young Co. 2012. Photography by Tim Morozzo.

There’s an entirely new batch of young theatre makers now part of the Young Co.  But many members of the early days of the company are now working in theatre. You might have seen two of them recently on the Citz main stage as professional actors. James Harkness was on tour with Headlong’s The Absence of War and Keira Lucchesi in the Citz’ own The Slab Boys.

James and Keira in Citizen Y, Nighthawks, Young Co. 2009. (photography by Tim Morozzo)

 L. The Absence of War at Headlong Theatre, Rose Theatre and Sheffield Theatres.
 (photography by Mark Douet)
R. The Slab Boys, Citizens Theatre (photography by Tim Morozzo)

Young Co. are currently performing Southside Stories, a new piece of theatre inspired by Fever Dream: Southside. 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Southside Diaries

In the first instalment of blog posts by our Young Co. members, Catriona McNicoll has taken time out of rehearsals  to share her insights into the making of Southside Stories.  

Not long to go now! The Young Co. are thrilled to be showing their verbatim piece, Southside Stories, as of next week through the 6th-9th of May. We've been working hard over the past few weeks and the show only seems to be getting better and better after each rehearsal.

Inspired by Douglas Maxwell’s Fever Dream: Southside which is directed by Dominic Hill on the Citizens’ main stage, the Young Co.’s Southside Stories gives an insight to life in Govanhill. Through a variety of anonymous interviews, a true sense of life in Glasgow’s most culturally diverse district becomes a heartfelt piece of theatre not to be missed. Stories of happy memories mixed with fears and hopes for the future create a show that could not have been done without the hard work and dedication of the whole team.

The Young Co. have been able to respectfully represent the lives and opinions of these real people. We even got the chance to visit Govanhill and see the streets and places mentioned throughout the piece to inspire us and to get an idea of everyday life there. We hope that we can do the extraordinary town of Govanhill justice and that we can not only entertain our audience, but inform them as well.

The Young Co. would like to thank all that have helped make our show as great as it is, with special thanks to Guy Hollands, Neil Packham and Finn Anderson. We would love as many people as possible to come along and explore life in Govanhill with us, come see us at the Circle Studio, Citizens Theatre May 6 - 9!

Catriona McNicoll - Member of Young Co.

Southside Stories 6 - 9 May

More info

Book now

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Fever Dream's A Pure Riot, So It Is

So, after weeks of hunting round the Southside, we finally know the answer to "Where's Terry?"

Douglas Maxwell's new play opened to the press on Saturday 25 April, and audiences are having a riot of a time at this "weird and chaotic" (The Guardian) show at the Citz.
Martin Donaghy and Charlene Boyd in Fever Dream: Southside. Credit Tim Morozzo
" ambitious hymn to human solidarity." ★★★★ The Guardian
"...a fantastical love letter, not just to the Govanhill neighbourhood it is set in, but to the city itself. "  ★★★★ The Herald
"...a mighty exploding bin-bag of ideas, images and slightly battered characters."
★★★★ The Scotsman 
"rending the Citz as a highly recommendable destination for the next two weeks." ★★★★ The Public Reviews 
"Maxwell’s script weaves between delirium and social realism, for an intelligent blend of the mythical and the realistic." ★★★★ The Stage  

Martin Donaghy and Scott Reid in Fever Dream: Southside. Credit Tim Morozzo

Martin McCormick and Charlene Boyd in Fever Dream: Southside Credit Tim Morozzo.

You can catch up with more of what our audiences think of the show on our Storify

Don't miss out on this rough 'n' ready Glaswegian - what's the opposite of a fairytale? Whitever - play, or Terry'll be after you. Knowwhitahmean?


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Josh Peltier

We were very sad to receive the news in the early hours of the morning of Tuesday 21 April that our friend Josh Peltier had passed away.

Josh Peltier. Credit Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
Josh was a member of Debajehmujig Storytellers, the group of First Nation Storytellers who travelled from Manitoulin Island, Canada to work with the Citizens Theatre and nearly 200 volunteer performers, musicians and singers to create On Common Ground, part of Festival 2014, part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.

Credit Karen Gordon
Along with the rest of the Global Savages, Josh brought his love and enthusiasm for his culture and heritage of the Anishnaabe to Glasgow, and embraced Glaswegian life whole-heartedly.

Josh's blog post about arriving in Glasgow

Helping out at the bingo in the Gorbals

As well as performing in the show, Josh brought his talent as an artist to create lots of amazing artwork in our foyer, turning the Citizens Theatre into a little corner of Manitoulin Island.

Josh also brought his stories and fables focusing on nature   to On Common Ground, and shared these with visitors to Glasgow for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at the BBC at the Quay event

Storytelling at BBC at the Quay at the BBC's Pacific Quay Studios.

On Common Ground was led by our Learning team, and everyone at the Citizens Theatre was involved in bringing this ambitious project to life and welcoming Debajehmujig and all the volunteers, participants and audience members to the Gorbals. We are so grateful to Josh and all at Debajehmujig for their commitment and enthusiasm to helping achieve this goal.

Dawn Arrival of the Global Savages to Glasgow. Credit Tim Morozzo

Josh travelled to Scotland with his friends the Global Savages, who included his wife, Jessica Wilde-Peltier. Everyone at the Citizens Theatre sends love and good wishes to Jessica, Debajehmujig and all of Josh's friends and family.

Members of the Citizens Theatre will be gathering in the Gorbals Rose Garden where On Common Ground took place next Tuesday 28 April at 6pm. All are welcome to come and share their memories of Josh and On Common Ground 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Fever Dream: Southside - A Portrait of the Writer

Writer Douglas Maxwell's new play Fever Dream: Southside gets its first performance next Saturday 25 April at the Citizens Theatre. 

A colourful representation of our very own neighbourhood, Fever Dream: Southside was actually created as a self-portrait of the writer and the feelings he had about his community shortly after the birth of his first child.  

Writer Douglas Maxwell. Credit Stuart Black

Here's Douglas explaining his inspiration for the play in his own words:

Wednesday, 8 April 2015


The Arches' Behaviour Festival 2015 comes to the Citizens with the award-winning Lippy by Irish theatre company Dead Centre

Lippy is inspired by the mysterious events surrounding the deaths of four Irish women in County Kildare in 2000, apparently as the result of an act of self-annihilation. The three sisters and their elderly aunt were found locked in their home having starved to death. The lack of documentation or evidence of the days leading up to the last time the women were seen has left their deaths open to speculation.

Friday, 27 March 2015


Kirstie Cusick, Head of Marketing & Communications (Maternity Cover), at the Citizens Theatre remembers voting for the first time in 1992.

I’m excited about seeing David Hare’s play The Absence of War being brought to the Citizens Theatre next week by Headlong. Set in 1992 on the lead up to the general election, I remember that period of my life like it was yesterday.

The Absence of War, 31 Mar - 4 Apr

The election was called on March 11 and I turned 18 less than a month before the big day and it was, until the referendum last year, the most engaged with politics I’ve ever been. I was in sixth year at school in the midst of preparing for a big university interview, swotting for my French oral exam, and taking driving lessons during free periods off school. I was working in Littlewoods in Argyle Street at the weekends. Shakespears Sister’s ‘Stay’ (video below) dominated the charts and I was waiting for Channel 4’s first season of Drop the Dead Donkey to come out on video. Scotland was gearing up for the UEFA European Championship for the first time. But most importantly I was enjoying having my first ‘legal’ drink or two in a pub.

My interest in voting in my first ever election was spurred by the fact that I’d taken a crash Higher in Modern Studies. My teacher was new to the school and she was the first person I’d ever met to call herself a Ms. I’d only read about people with that title in American novels by Judy Blume and Paula Danziger. I thought she was so cool especially as she told us stories about rebelling against the poll tax and having her wages arrested. She encouraged me to take part in debates with other schools about the hot topics of the day including the state of the NHS and the economy. Déjà vu as we lead up to this year’s general election.

Scotland's 1992 Squad who bowed out at the group stages 
The cast of Drop the Dead Donkey 

As this was long before social media and multiple 24 hours news channels, the press played a huge role in influencing people on who to vote and I bought newspapers daily to keep up to speed with Paddy Ashdown, Neil Kinnock, John Major, and others. I was tuning in to Question Time on a Thursday night.
Paddy Ashdown, Neil Kinnock, John Major and Ian Paisley's Spitting Image alter egos. 

I wrote to all the prospective candidates in my Southside constituency of Glasgow with specific questions and attended local hustings. I remember repeatedly writing and complaining to one prospective candidate about the tone and message of their literature. They reminded me of this a number of years later when I was a journalist at their local newspaper. I must have made an impression!

The Sun's infamous 1992 election - day front page

They day of the election came around quickly. People always talk about the weather on an election day but to be honest that’s the only thing I can’t remember about this historic day for me. What I can remember is the excitement I felt heading into St. Fillan’s Primary School with my parents and standing in a polling booth for the very first time and making the most informed voting decision of my life to date. I also remembered staying up late to watch my first election coverage on the TV.
By exercising my democratic right, I was one of 33,614,074 million people to cast a vote in the general election of 1992. I wonder what memories this play will remind the other 40 somethings as they watch this play.

The Absence of War is at the Citizens Theatre from 31 Mar – 4 Apr.

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*** Views of this blog do not reflect the views of the Citizens Theatre***

Thursday, 12 March 2015

An insight into The Absence of War from Director Jeremy Herrin

Friends of the Citizens Theatre Headlong return with another fantastic new production: David Hare's acclaimed The Absence of War. Headlong have previously brought productions of The Seagull, Medea, A Midsummer Night's Dream and most recently the sell-out West End smash 1984.  The Absence of War has already been impressing the critics on its UK tour, and it arrives at the Citizens in the lead up to the 2015 general election.

Photograph by Mark Douet
Headlong Theatre Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin (one of the nominees for the Best Director Award at the 2015 Olivier Awards announced on 12 April) talks about staging and touring this modern political masterpiece.