Citizens Theatre Glasgow, Gorbals Regeneration, Planning Consent, Building Renewal, Images, Design

Citizens Theatre Redevelopment : Glasgow Architecture

Victorian Building Renovation, Scotland: Planning Permission – design by Bennetts Associates

25 Mar 2016

Citizens Theatre Renovation Planning Approval

Design: Bennetts Associates, architects

Redevelopment plans for Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre have taken a major step forward with the granting of planning consent.

Citizens Theatre Glasgow expansion

Work on the £20.5 m project is now set to start in late 2017 or early 2018 and be completed in spring 2020, subject to funding being in place.

The 138-year-old theatre will remain open throughout the project, which does not include any major changes to the existing auditorium, apart from improvement to the air-conditioning.

Citizens Theatre Glasgow expansion

The major part of the work is to the 20th century additions to the original Victorian structure. The actors’ facilities, backstage areas and construction workshops will be improved through reorganisation and refurbishment. A new administration hub will also be created.

Expressing her delight in the decision from Glasgow City Council, the theatre’s executive director Judith Kilvington said: “We are passionate about being an inclusive organisation that breaks down barriers to participation but the building in which we operate is no longer fit for purpose.

Citizens Theatre Glasgow expansion

“Our vision for the future of our building is that will be able to engage with every aspect of our programme, heritage and history, and that we will provide improved working conditions for artists, participants and staff.”

Front-of-house work will include the creation of new public areas including a new foyer, cafe, learning and rehearsal studios, with accessibility improved throughout the building.

11 Dec 2015

Citizens Theatre Renovation Submission

Design: Bennetts Associates, architects

Citizens Theatre Glasgow building

Bennetts Associates have submitted plans for the renovation and expansion of Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre by refurbishing the historic auditorium whilst sweeping away later piecemeal additions to allow a wraparound new build structure.

This will allow creation of additional accommodation for learning, studios and workshops as well as building a new street frontage and foyer with a new front to back connection created alongside the existing auditorium to provide full public access to historic stage machinery.

The architects maintain that “The façade to Gorbals Street has open-ness and transparency that will reveal the auditorium gable and the activity of the foyer. It will make the theatre open and welcoming, and allow it to engage with the street.

“The auditorium will be at the centre of the scheme, and the layers of modern finishes will be stripped back to reveal its sandstone walls. Foyer spaces will be placed dramatically between the new accommodation and the old walls of the auditorium, with stairs and bridges occupying the space between.”

Citizens Theatre Glasgow building

Elevation materials:
brick ; pre-cast concrete string course ; metal cladding

18 Feb 2013

Citizens Theatre Renovation

Design: Bennetts Associates

Location: Gorbals, south Glasgow

Citizens Theatre Appoints Bennetts Associates as Architects for Major New Redevelopment Project

Citizens Theatre Glasgow
photo : Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

The Citizens Theatre announces today that architectural practice Bennetts Associates has been selected to work on the plans for a major redevelopment of its iconic Gorbals home. This will be the most comprehensive redevelopment of the building since it opened as a theatre in 1878.

With the support of Glasgow City Council, the Company is now working with Bennetts Associates on the project, anticipated to commence in 2016 subject to funding being secured. It is anticipated that construction costs will be in the order of £6.5m, exclusive of professional fees and VAT. Bennetts Associates is based in Edinburgh and London and recently won numerous awards and plaudits for its work on the transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Citizens Theatre Glasgow Citizens Theatre Glasgow
images from architect

The original Victorian building has been home to the Citizens Theatre Company since 1945. Over the years the building has seen a number of small-scale extensions and developments as it has grown into one of Scotland’s flagship producing theatres. However, it is now in need of repair and renovation. The planned capital project will transform the building creating a new vision for improved rehearsal, administration and learning accommodation, as well as improved facilities for the public.

The Citizens Theatre is owned by Glasgow City Council and the Company is working in partnership with the Council which has supported the cost of the feasibility study for the project.

Announcing the appointment of the architects, Chair of Citizens Theatre Adrienne Scullion said: “I’m delighted that the Citizens Theatre will be working with Bennetts Associates and Glasgow City Council to redevelop our landmark theatre building. This is an important capital project for both the Company and the city. The Citizens has always valued its place in the heart of the Gorbals and now, with the Laurieston regeneration project underway, it’s the right time for us to invest in a more efficient, more sustainable building for future generations to enjoy.”

Bailie Liz Cameron, Executive Member of Development and Regeneration Services at Glasgow City Council commented: “The Citizens Theatre is a jewel in the crown of Glasgow’s cultural life, and the plans for this capital project will mirror the regeneration of the neighbouring Laurieston area. The council has been a supporter of the theatre for many years, and will continue to do so through our funding of the feasibility study. This is just the start of the process, and I look forward to the development of this building, which has hosted so many fantastic productions and raised the city’s artistic profile, in the coming years.”

Citizens Theatre Artistic Director Dominic Hill said “I’m looking forward to working with Bennetts Associates to realise our vision for this beautiful and historic theatre, and to provide audiences, artists and staff with quality spaces in which to make and enjoy theatre. My ambition is to have a building that reflects the Citizens’ reputation for contemporary interpretations of classic texts, while respecting the theatre’s important heritage. I’m grateful to Glasgow City Council for having the vision to support us in our plans to ensure that the Citizens Theatre remains a vital part of the city’s cultural provision for years to come.”

Alasdair Gordon, Associate Director at Bennetts Associates’ Edinburgh office, said: “It is such an exciting time for the Citizens Theatre and we look forward to being a part of this new chapter in the theatre’s remarkable history. From breathing new life into the wonderful Victorian auditorium to providing new rehearsal, education and studio spaces, this ambitious project will transform the experiences of visitors, staff and performers and will secure the future of one of Scotland’s leading producing theatres.”

Bennetts Associates, Citizens Theatre and Glasgow City Council are now working together to take the plans to Royal Institute of British Architects Stage B, enabling the fundraising campaign to begin.

Citizens Theatre Glasgow

The Citizens Theatre is an iconic venue and theatre company based in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. It has been one of Scotland’s flagship producing theatres since 1945, recognised internationally as a leader in its field. It is led by Artistic Director, Dominic Hill.

Citizens Theatre Glasgow
image from architect

Within a beautiful Victorian auditorium that dates from 1878 the Citizens presents a world-class, contemporary repertoire based on British and foreign classics and new writing. The Grade B listed building opened as His Majesty’s Theatre and was also known as the Royal Princesses Theatre until the building was first leased to the Citizens Theatre Company in 1945.The theatre retains many of its Victorian architectural features; it is the only theatre in Scotland still to have its original machinery under the stage and features an original Victorian paint frame and related fly system, which is still used today to paint backcloths. The remnants of an old bowling alley and a shooting range are closed up beneath the theatre.

As its name suggests, the Citizens believes that its work can enhance and transform the lives of people of all ages, cultures and social backgrounds. Every week of the year, the Citizens Learning team run activities for children, young people, students, older people and families as well as working closely with marginalised groups, people with additional support needs and in disadvantaged communities across Scotland.


Bennetts Associates

Bennetts Associates is one of the UK’s leading architecture practices with a portfolio of work that has won more than 125 awards, with projects in education, commercial and public-sectors as well as theatres, cultural and historic buildings. The firm has a reputation for its design quality, approach to sustainability and for its collaborative style of working.

The practice was behind the highly acclaimed transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, completed in 2010, and the new Hampstead Theatre in London. It is currently working with leading UK theatres on a variety of projects, including a new £40m theatre and library in Chester.

Bennetts Associates is based in London and Edinburgh and is currently around 70 strong.


Bennetts Associates was selected to deliver the planned project from a shortlist of six which also included John McAslan & Partners; cr8 Architects with RHWL Arts; PagePark Architects; Malcolm Fraser Architects and Haworth Tompkins Architects. The shortlist was created following the Official Journal of the European Union tendering process.

Citizens Theatre Redevelopment images / information from Bennetts Associates

Citizens Theatre Glasgow renewal architect : Bennetts Associates

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photo © Adrian Welch

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