Up the Close: The Close Theatre at the Citizens’, Glasgow

John Riddell

 

Introduction

The Close Theatre operated as the studio space of the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, from 1965 until it was destroyed by fire in 1973. This article examines the history of this venue, the cultural context from which it emerged and the key players involved in its formation. Contemporary accounts are used to describe the space, the work presented, how it was experienced by artists and audience and the demise of the theatre and its legacy to the Citizens’ and the arts in Glasgow. In addition, four appendices are provided which make more widely available documentary evidence on key aspects of the policy and working of the Close Theatre. Beginning with the broader context within which the theatre operated – the locality, the city and social, economic and political history of the period – the article will proceed to examine key milestones in the theatre’s history.

The City context – Glasgow and Gorbals

At the turn of the twentieth century, Glasgow reputed itself to be ‘Second City of the Empire’, (Jamieson 2009) built on trade and industry. Gorbals, south of the Clyde where the Citizens’ Theatre stands, developed through handloom weaving in the seventeenth century. (Maver 2000, p. 19) Mass unemployment affected the area after the First World War in the Glasgow of No Mean City, the tale of ‘”Razor King”, Johnnie Stark’ (McArthur and Kingsley Long 1957, p. 69) and gang warfare in 1920s Gorbals. Large families crammed into small, vermin-infested tenements, unemployment fed poor social conditions and families relied on the meagre income of the mother. Some blamed immigrants for these ills, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, however, celebrated the ethnic diversity of 1930s Gorbals as ‘lovably and abominably and delightfully and hideously un-Scottish’. (Maver 2000, p. 278) Gorbals had the ubiquitous Scots-Irish presence and Glasgow’s 35,000 Jews, most of them from Eastern Europe; the Jewish Institute Players became ‘one of the most innovative contributors to Scottish Community drama’. (Maver, p. 278) The Second World War improved conditions, reversing the trend of mass unemployment as Clyde shipyards launched huge tonnage to support the war effort. (Maver, p. 210) ‘Glasgow’s industrial base remained resilient in the immediate aftermath of the war, and positively gained from the Cold War, notably the Korean conflict of 1950-3.’ (Maver, p. 212) However, the traditional economic base in shipbuilding, engineering and metal manufacture was eroding. There was ‘a brisk outflow of British investment overseas’ and any inward investment was not coming north of the border, or if it did, it went outside the city to towns like Motherwell or the various ‘new towns’ like East Kilbride. From the late 1950s, a global recession in shipping and the revival of industry in West Germany and Japan hit Glasgow hard. With the reorganisation of British shipbuilding, small yards were merged to form larger ones in Glasgow and Greenock. (Maver, p. 213) This affected related industries by decimating metal production, while the advent of containerisation reducing harbour activities. (Maver 2000, p. 218) By 1971, such industries faced bankruptcy. Heath’s government refused further funding, but public protest, industrial action and the possibility of civil unrest, persuaded the government to keep the shipyards functioning. (Maver, 214) The international oil crisis of 1973 and inflation of 25% led to a turning point for Glasgow’s industrial economic base, and subsequent de-industrialisation under the Thatcher government from 1979. (Maver, 216)

Glasgow politics was traditionally split between Labour and Unionists, Labour holding the municipal power. The Unionists were of a conservative nature, but with popular working class support. (Maver, p. 241) Labour eroded the Unionist vote until, in 1965, the Unionists reorganised with a Conservative identity distancing the party from its sectarian, Orange-tinged roots. (Maver, p. 244) The SNP made gains in the 1960s at the expense of both parties as popular opinion began to move in favour of devolution, leading ultimately to the inconclusive referendum in 1979. In the 1960s, the corporation pursued an ambitious plan to demolish and rebuild 97,000 dwellings. Communities like Anderston, the Gorbals, Springburn and Townhead were changed beyond recognition. A preference for tower blocks was demonstrated as a quick and cost effective solution to housing problems. Between 1961 and 1968, ‘Glasgow had the most determined multi-storey drive of any British city, with high flats constituting almost 75% of all completions’. (Maver, p. 266) Basil Spence’s Queen Elizabeth flats in the Hutchesonstown-Gorbals area were seen as a lofty tribute to the ocean liners designed and built on the Clyde. Despite Spence’s aim to ‘civilise the tenement’, they were demolished in 1993 because of persistent vandalism and high maintenance costs. (Maver, p. 266)

The Cultural Context – the beginning of the Citz

The new Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre opened at the Athenaeum Theatre in Buchanan Street in 1943. ‘Conceived in love: for its begetter, Osborne Henry Mavor alias James Bridie the playwright’, (Oliver 1999, p. 7) the name ‘Citizens’ Theatre’ was taken from the manifesto of Glasgow Repertory Theatre founded in 1909.

The Repertory Theatre is Glasgow’s own theatre. It is a citizens’ theatre in the fullest sense of the term. Established to make Glasgow independent of London for its dramatic supplies, it produces plays which the Glasgow playgoers would otherwise not have an opportunity of seeing. (McDonald 1984, 1: p. 3)

Tony Patterson, Citizens’ stalwart and board member records that

The old Glasgow Repertory Theatre housed in the Royalty – later Lyric – Theatre was killed by the outbreak of the 1914 war but the Citizens’ was born in the middle of the 1939-45 conflict, and the figure of James Bridie dominates its creation. (1970, p. 1)

There was support for the idea, which did not occur in isolation. Unity Theatre had been established in 1941 from four amateur theatre groups including Workers Theatre Group, Transport Players and Jewish Institute Players, had a left-wing bias and was committed to ‘build a People’s Theatre in Glasgow’. (McDonald 1984, 1: 7) What Bridie envisaged, according to Cordelia Oliver, was a ‘shop window for the best native playwriting, past and present, to be seen in a context of good drama from elsewhere’. (1999, p. 8)

The facilities in the Athenaeum were inadequate; the successful company needed a bigger venue and in 1945 the theatre moved south of the river to the Royal Princess’s in Gorbals, renting the venue from Harry McKelvie on a ten-year lease. At the end of this, the Corporation of Glasgow bought the venue and rented it back to the company. (Patterson 1970, p. 1) The building had first opened as Her Majesty’s in 1878 to a rocky start, changing its name in 1880 to the Royal Princess’s, when H.C. Beryl took over the management and refurbished the theatre. (Patterson, p. 1) Unsurprisingly for Glasgow, ‘Irish plays seemed to guarantee good audiences’. Also popular was ‘a long thread of Pantomimes’ […] which ‘ran almost from Autumn to early Summer’. (Patterson, p. 2) Remnants of the old house remain and Patterson tells how Stanley Baxter, star of the Citz panto for many years

returned to visit the scene of his former triumphs he stood spellbound, thrilled that the coloured window on the way to the Dress Circle bearing the legend “Royal Princess’s Theatre”, was still there, a sign of blessed continuity. (Patterson, p. 2)

Figure 1 – Facade of the Royal Princess’s and Palace Theatres

The first Theatre plays ran in repertory; three productions at once, initially for two, then three week runs. In the decade after it opened, the Citizens’ ‘became recognised as one of the leading theatres in Britain, with […] a growing reputation for mixing classical revivals with new native drama’. (Coveney 1990, p. 51) The first Shakespeare was A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the 1947-48 season, but Bridie declared an intention ‘to put on as many Scottish plays as possible’. (Patterson 1970, pp. 2-3) Jan McDonald sees the focus on Scottish writing at this time as something of a distraction arguing that ‘the haggis hunt for the great new Scottish play has been the bugbear of development of the theatre in Scotland’. (McDonald 1984, 1: p. 2). She goes on to argue that ‘the best way to establish a healthy school of playwriting in Scotland is to introduce the writers to as many of the best foreign plays as possible, produced as well as possible’. (McDonald, 1: p. 2) In later years it certainly achieved this. The Citizens’ established itself at the centre of Glasgow cultural life. Bridie agitated for a school of drama which came into being in 1950 (McDonald, 1: p. 9) now part of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, (2011) and took part in early discussions on the creation of a national theatre for Scotland; a recurring theme for the following half century. Bridie died in 1951. (Cuthbertson, Leigh and Lyons 1964, p. 3) ‘The Citizens maintained its reputation through the late 1950s, and was indeed often cited as a model of what a repertory theatre should be’ (Coveney 1990, p. 56) but at this time, ‘Scottish writing tailed off abruptly’ frustrating many local practitioners who had ‘always regarded this particular playhouse as their own God-given forum, their promised land’. (Oliver 1999, p. 23) This change coincided, though it was no true coincidence, with the accession to Chair of the Board of Michael Goldberg on 19 May 1958.1

The Goldberg Years

Goldberg is an important figure in the history of The Citizens’ and the driving force behind the Close Theatre. He was a ‘truly elegant and refined man […] he was tough, sophisticated and generous’. (Coveney 1990, p. 60) That generosity was tested in the setting up of the Close.

Michael Goldberg, scion of a wealthy warehouse-owning family in the city […] was a civilised man with an interest in European modernism, and the theatre began to reflect a wider spectrum of dramatic literature. Scottish plays became fewer. (Coveney, p. 56)

Writing in the souvenir conspectus produced for the twenty-first anniversary celebrations of the Citz in 1964, Goldberg gives his assessment of the theatre’s position.

The Citizens’ Theatre could have been more commercially successful […] but timidity and mediocrity was firmly rejected in favour of plays of acknowledged value […] a growing national reputation, and an expanding, more youthful audience eager to accept good theatre as a component part of its leisure time. (Rundall 1966, p. 137)

Jeremy Rundall suggested in 1966 that the regional reps did most to push beyond the traditional base, the ‘false image of theatre as the recreation of the middle class which repertory is doing most to dispel’. (Rundall 1966, p. 137) He placed the Citizens’ work in a wider context:

there are probably eight repertory companies of the front rank in Britain […] they are the Birmingham Repertory Company, the Bristol Old Vic, the Belgrade in Coventry, the Glasgow Citizens’, the Liverpool Playhouse, the Library in Manchester, the Nottingham Playhouse, and the Oxford Playhouse. They have in common utter professionalism, a spirit of adventure, and a desire to serve the future of drama […] they are attracting new and larger audiences. They can, and do, draw the national critics from London. (Rundall 1966, p. 137)

Rundall noted that ‘only two (Coventry and Glasgow) have so far launched their own experimental theatre clubs’: (Rundall 1966, p. 137)

It takes two hours to get to Chichester from London, and plenty of people are prepared to make the journey. It only takes two and a quarter to Birmingham or Coventry, three to Nottingham. And it is there, and at points north and west, that British theatre is renewing itself. (Rundall 1966, p. 137)

This suggests that the Citz’, in the mid-1960s, was at the cutting edge of British theatre. There were some ‘celebrated exports’; premières of Peter Nichols’ A Day in the Death of Joe Egg in 1967 and George Tabori’s translation of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui in 1968. (Patterson, p. 3) Goldberg’s interest in international theatre inspired a noticeable change during this time. ‘It was during the ‘60s, under a succession of intelligent, theatrically aware, and it has to be said courageous directors, that the Citizens’ Theatre began seriously to open its doors to European influences’. (Oliver, p. 25) These Artistic Directors ‘Callum Mill, Iain Cuthbertson, David William, Michael Meacham, Michael Blakemore and Robert Cartland all graduated from greasepaint to the director’s chair’. (Oliver, p. 29) There was a high turnover, typically, an artistic director would not be invited to stay for a second season and the board gained a reputation for interfering in artistic matters. (Coveney, pp. 57-58) This ‘was a deeply unhappy period for those on the creative side’, (Oliver, p. 35) dealing as they were with ‘a Board that seemed, more and more, to assume an authoritarian stance’. (Oliver, p. 35) ‘The festering grievances of both board and artistic management erupted nastily with the sacking of [Robert] Cartland in the early summer of 1969’, (Coveney, p. 59) the board, under George Singleton, thus ushering in the era of Havergal, Prowse and MacDonald that was to last more than thirty years. Things might have been different, Havergal recalls, ‘at the end of everybody else’s season the artistic director had gone […] instead of sacking me, they left’. (Interview with Havergal 14 November 2011)

 

Chairmanship of the board passed to William Taylor ‘a Glasgow solicitor of truly liberal outlook.’ (Oliver, p. 43) Havergal’s view is ‘He was absolutely brilliant […] I adored him.’ (Interview with Havergal 14 November 2011) Taylor remained in the chair until his death in 1993 and was highly supportive of the creative staff.

Figure 2 – Giles Havergal

 

New spaces for the performance

Britain in the 1960s saw many newly built theatres and conversions including some at universities. Arts centres emerged: in Brighton, for example, Basil Spence produced the Gardner Arts Centre at the University of Sussex six years after the opening of his Gorbals high rise. Midland Arts Centre (mac) in Birmingham offered diverse activities including professional theatre, exhibitions, concerts and participatory arts and crafts; mac represented the cultural orthodoxy of the 1960s. A network of Maisons de Culture in France was established and similar schemes developed across Europe and beyond, the John F Kennedy Center in Washington DC being one of over 150 US examples. The art and culture reflected in these spaces was often that of the previous three centuries of western cultural heritage brought to a mass audience. (Lane 1978, pp. 5-8) This mainstream development produced a revolt among those who saw a patronising cultural policy of mass access to bland fare, perhaps the earliest of which was the Arts Lab movement when around forty experimental projects sprung up around the UK, often in less well-off areas. Jim Haynes ‘the laid-back American’ who had been the Traverse theatre’s ‘presiding genius and second Artistic Director’ (McMillan, 1: pp. 1-2) was a leading figure in the movement, coming to London in 1967 and opening an Arts Lab in Drury Lane, followed by others, presenting an ad hoc mixture of contemporary arts, pop, rock, theatre and literature. Open access and flexibility were key: ‘a theatre can be a restaurant, a gallery, a bedroom, a studio, etc’. (Lane, pp. 16-17)

The arts lab movement was short-lived, but the organisations that grew out of it were more connected with their communities. They considered their role in the context of local housing estates, poverty, unemployment and a community for whom the arts seemed remote and inaccessible, as in Liverpool where the Great Georges Project organised street games, play schemes and discos to bring together creative artists and local community. Founders Bill and Wendy Harpe believed that public funding should be made available to local initiatives just as much as to professional theatre or fine arts. This grass roots work was a ‘gardening of the arts, a tilling of the cultural soil’. (Lane, pp. 18) In North London another American, Ed Berman, created Inter-Action, taking its lead from the people of Kentish Town. A range of projects was developed including a double-decker bus with TV equipment and cinema, an urban farm, a street theatre group and youth and pensioners’ clubs. In 1977, once firmly established, Inter-Action opened a permanent centre, but in many other areas the building came first, with community arts projects and community artists appearing all over the country, setting up spaces or working in temporary accommodation where available. (Lane, pp. 18-21)

Although as a response to this wider activity, the Close Theatre was within a less prosperous area of Glasgow, it was not developed for the benefit of the local community. The fact that the former Diamond Hall,2 next to the Citizens’, happened to become available and that Michael Goldberg had the means to convert it were key factors in the beginning of the Close.

 

Goldberg and the Close

Supporters with deep pockets, like Goldberg who largely financed the Close himself, were important for experimental theatre. (Coveney, pp. 59-60) There was some small Arts Council funding for experimental theatre, mostly in London, with the English Stage Company at the Royal Court, Bernard Miles’ Mermaid at St John’s Wood and Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop at Stratford attracting support. Of these, only Stratford East was truly experimental. In the regions, Cheeseman’s Victoria Theatre, Stoke on Trent was one of the few to be supported, though its experimentation was limited to form rather than programme, with performances in the round. (White 1975)

Goldberg and his colleagues must have been influenced by these changes in arts spaces, but chief amongst these influences would have been recent events in Edinburgh. ‘The Traverse Theatre opened in James Court, just off the Edinburgh Lawnmarket, on the night of 2 January 1963. The place was Kelly’s Paradise, a crumbling former doss-house and brothel ‘barely a stone’s throw from the Castle’. (McMillan with Carnegie 1988, p. 9) The Traverse was not attached to any other venue; it opened as an experimental Club Theatre with a membership of 300. The business plan was based on the mistaken assumption that ‘if 500 members materialised and the cafe/restaurant was reasonably successful, the theatre would break even, and would never need any subsidy at all’. (McMillan with Carnegie, p. 15) Some parallels will be seen with the Close, though the Traverse had no single benefactor, but ‘when the chips were down, enough money could be found in private pockets to bail it out’. (McMillan, p. 15) The Traverse Theatre was small. ‘You could rub knees with the actors, smell their sweat, see the gooseflesh on their bodies’: (McMillan, p. 9)

it was a long, low-ceilinged first floor room, barely 15 ft wide by 8 ft high, and at a time when the theory of performing in “real space” – as opposed to artificial settings – hardly existed in Britain, it was inescapably a real room. (McMillan, p. 10)

Goldberg would certainly have visited the Traverse and perhaps, as others did, found the space to be ‘sexy, exciting, electrifying.’ (McMillan, p. 10) The quality of the work must have appealed too. Jim Haynes claimed ‘it really was practically impossible to make a bad production in that space’. (McMillan, pp. 1-2)

 

Goldberg was not alone in his interest. As Cordelia Oliver put it, ‘Those of us who, from the time in 1963 when the Traverse was founded in Edinburgh, had wanted to see a similar studio theatre in the West, were delighted’ (p. 32) when plans for the Close were announced on 29 September 1964 at a Gala evening celebrating twenty-one years of the Citizens. Artistic Director at the time Iain Cuthbertson wrote in the Anniversary Conspectus, ‘apart from being able to operate in repertoire, we should have, under our umbrella, a workshop experimental theatre’. (Cuthbertson et al 1964, p. 24) He goes on to suggest that this be used for new writing, new plays having two months rehearsal to ‘essay new forms of staging, new techniques of acting and stagecraft’. (p. 24) Discussions were first recorded at the Citizens’ Board meeting on 1 September 1964, appearing in the minutes under the heading of ‘Experimental Theatre’:

The Chairman reported that he and Mr Cuthbertson had had discussions regarding the formation a ‘Small Theatre’ to be attached to the Citizens’ Theatre. It had been brought to their notice that a small hall in the building adjoining the Citizens’ Theatre had become vacant which would seat approximately 100 and also had large ante-rooms attached. The Candleriggs Trust had agreed to meet the cost of conversion of this hall into a theatre, with Tearoom and Bar. Regarding a lease of the hall, it was understood that the proprietor would let them have a two years’ lease at £7 per week but he was sure that agreement could be reached on a shorter lease if after a pilot season of three months, it was decided not to continue the project.
It was agreed that this would be an exciting venture giving the opportunity for trying out new actors, new plays and new playwrights and also the opportunity to give full time work to more actors.3

The tone suggests that Goldberg and Cuthbertson had gone some way towards making this happen, presenting it to the Board for approval rather than discussion. Over the coming months the Experimental Theatre is discussed at most Board meetings. In November, the Chairman stated that the purpose of the Close would be ‘to present plays of limited appeal to give facilities to new producers and encouragement to new authors and foreign authors whose plays were unlikely to be suitable for presentation in the theatre itself’.4 Cuthbertson presented costs of an estimated £422 per week against an anticipated income of £426, based on ‘a membership fee of two guineas per annum with a special rate of 10/6 per annum for students’.5 In the light of later financial difficulties, these figures seem too convenient to be believable.

 

In November, copies of architect’s plans for conversion to ‘a small intimate theatre’ were presented to the Meeting. Proposed was ‘a circular stage twenty-five feet in diameter’, 6 seating 150 – 200 with adjacent dressing rooms and club room accommodating fifty. The Master of Works of Glasgow Corporation pointed out that the ‘premises could not be licensed for public entertainment so that the venture must be run as a theatre club’.7 Club status for the Close, quite apart from building licence considerations, would mean that it would not be subject to the Lord Chamberlain’s censorship. Theatre in Britain, argued producer Michael White, was then ‘dominated not by great acting stars, mercurial playwrights or adventurous producers but by the far less well-known figure of the Lord Chamberlain’.8 Christened by Tynan ‘The Royal Smut Hound’ the Lord Chamberlain’s office reviewed all scripts for public presentation in Britain. The usual way to avoid this was to run as a club theatre, open to members only. When the Close opened, the Lord Chamberlain was unusually busy, pursuing the Royal Court theatre, a process that ultimately spelled the end for his office. In September 1968, the Theatres Act came into force and the requirement to submit plays to the Lord Chamberlain was dropped. (Shellard, 1999, pp. 136-46)

 

In January 1965, the Board was told that a lease had been negotiated for five years with a break clause after two years, at £350 per annum and it was agreed that the venue would open in September 1965 for a six month trial period.9 In April, the Board heard that the constitution of the theatre club was being drawn up by lawyers ‘in consultation with the Police Department’. (Minutes 13 April 1965) Goldberg and the Board, meanwhile, showed the desire to control which was to create friction in the years to come:

 

The club must be democratically run, the members being free to elect their own Board of Management, but at the same time we must ensure that control of the club activities lay firmly in the hands of the Theatre Board.10

At the May meeting, it was confirmed that the Arts Council had awarded the venue £1000 for the 1965-66 season and the Citizens’ board agreed to advance the working capital needed to open the Experimental Theatre for a thirty-week period. By that point, it was expected that the membership would be at 2500, allowing the operation to break even.11 On Friday 11 June 1965, as the first residents moved into Spence’s Gorbals tower blocks,12 an inaugural meeting of the ‘Close Theatre Club’ was held to adopt the constitution and elect a board of management. The ‘premises at 127 Gorbals Street, C.5, are leased to the Club from 11th June 1965 to 30th September 1969.’13 The Close Theatre opened on 29 September 1965 with a drama conference as part of the Commonwealth Arts Festival.

 

The Close Theatre – The Space

Access was from Gorbals Street between the Palace Theatre14 to the left and the Citizens’ to the right. ‘The Gorbals in the sixties was still pretty rough’, recalls Giles Havergal. (14 November 2011) The Close was ‘reached by a steep stair beside the Citizens’ main entrance – hence its name, the Close’, the Glaswegian dialect word for an internal corridor and stairs into a block of tenement flats. (Oliver, p. 32) Havergal felt ‘going up that little alleyway was slightly sort of alternative.’ (2011) The most authoritative account of the space itself was written by Theatre Consultant Martin Carr for Strand Electric’s Tabs. (The Swan at Worcester and the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, by Martin Carr. Article from a journal Call Number: STA Eb 5/22)

A full transcript of Carr’s account of the Close is appended.

Figure 3- The Interior of the Close

 

Carr recounts that after some experimentation into performing in the round, the venue settled into a format that was agreed to work best; ‘a three-sided seating arrangement, with an acting area 24ft. by 20ft’. (The Swan at Worcester and the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, by Martin Carr. Article from a journal Call Number: STA Eb 5/22)The seat count in the three permanent blocks was 149, two blocks were similar but the block to stage right was raised much higher to allow a crossover beneath, allowing actors and stage management to get around unseen by the audience. This had the ‘unfortunate effect of forming what is known locally as the “Jury Box”’. (The Swan at Worcester and the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, by Martin Carr. Article from a journal Call Number: STA Eb 5/22) The ends of these boxes were fitted with solid fascia, which added to the sense of enclosure. Carr suggests that ‘balustrades might lighten the effect and improve contact, though the seating is otherwise comfortable and well spaced’. (The Swan at Worcester and the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, by Martin Carr. Article from a journal Call Number: STA Eb 5/22) The seating had been donated by Citizens’ Board member George Singleton.15 ‘Mr Cosmo’, as he was known, was the proprietor of cinemas in Glasgow, notably the Cosmo, which opened as an art house in 1939, (Scottish Screen Archive, 2011) he had been involved with the Citizens’ since Bridie’s time and was shortly to take his turn in the Chair.16 The Jury Box was usually last to be filled, the public being reluctant to cross the stage: ‘this often adds to the lack of balance in the audience’. (The Swan at Worcester and the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, by Martin Carr. Article from a journal Call Number: STA Eb 5/22)

Technically, the Theatre is fortunate to have as a relic of the Dance Hall, a narrow balcony running along three sides. This forms an excellent lighting gallery, and all control is from one end. The overhang of the gallery brings it rather close to the acting area on one side, and its absence on the fourth wall can present problems; nonetheless it is a valuable asset. (The Swan at Worcester and the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, by Martin Carr. Article from a journal Call Number: STA Eb 5/22)

Oliver recalls that ‘this came to be used with great effect in performance with the actors coming and going up and down the precipitous spiral staircase’. (Oliver p.32) Carr continues

The decor of the hall is a trifle cold, and it is unfortunate that the ceiling has been painted white, thus emphasising its height. […] Unfortunately the ceiling of the hall is high (22ft.) and although this helps acoustically for music, it is difficult to provide lighting over the acting area unless expensive “Pole-Op” lanterns were to be used. (The Swan at Worcester and the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, by Martin Carr. Article from a journal Call Number: STA Eb 5/22)

The lanterns list included fixtures typical in theatre: Strand Electric Patt. 23 and 123s ‘with a few Patt. 223s for the strong stuff’. (The Swan at Worcester and the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, by Martin Carr. Article from a journal Call Number: STA Eb 5/22) Lighting control was by a Strand H.A.24 with twelve sliders. This allowed dimming or switching of channels but no capability to cross fade between states.

Quite clearly this is inadequate for a theatre in which the lighting plays so vital a role, and the lack of master facilities is a grave disadvantage. One hopes that once the theatre is established a modern system may be installed. (The Swan at Worcester and the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, by Martin Carr. Article from a journal Call Number: STA Eb 5/22)

(In 1968, Citizens’ Artistic Director Robert Cartland proposed that the Board seek a grant application to the Arts Council for £1948 of technical equipment for the Close, including stage lighting control, sound system and a cue light system. The Board expressed concern that new equipment should be needed after only a few years in operation. Cartland explained that the existing equipment was second-hand having been donated by the Citizens’ main house.17) Carr further observes that ‘Dressing rooms and ancillary spaces are minimal, but there is a pleasant Club room with bar and catering facilities’. (The Swan at Worcester and the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, by Martin Carr. Article from a journal Call Number: STA Eb 5/22) The club bar remained open after the pubs shut. Consequently, the bar would be packed while the auditorium was half-full. According to Oliver, ‘the audience [was] seriously disturbed by the din outside’, (Oliver, p. 32) but Havergal comments:

It was the only place you could get a drink after ten o’clock, can you imagine? […] People who had no interest in theatre came to drink, it was bedlam, and we made a lot of money from it. (in person interview with Havergal 14 November 2011)

In 1968 the Close and front of house of the Citizens’ were extended: ‘the Club acquired premises through the wall from the Clubroom after the Corporation had rehoused tenants from storm damaged flats’. (The Close Theatre Club Development Appeal Souvenir Programme 1969, p. 53)18 The new first floor could accommodate a restaurant for fifty-six covers and a lounge area with exhibition facilities and bar. According to the Close Theatre Development Appeal Programme, ‘The new-look Close in which the extended Clubroom and restaurant have transformed us into one of the most comfortable, and even elegant Club Theatres in Britain’. (Development Appeal Programme 1969 p. 5) Oliver notes that ‘The clubroom camaraderie made discussion possible with the resident players who, themselves, made use of the club cafe as their much needed canteen’. (Oliver, p. 33) The bar became a focal point of the gay scene in Glasgow. Giles Havergal recalls how Philip Prowse redecorated the bar in a bordello style, using draped fabric wall hangings and many mirrors, reminiscent of the ‘high esoteric camp’ (McDonald, p. 11) of his main house designs: ‘It looked like a nineteenth-century brothel. He covered all the walls, not with mirror but with mirrors, little mirrors. It was so louche to go into you can’t believe it.’ (Interview with Havergal 14 November 2011)

Figure 4 – Plan of Close redrafted from original drawing by Martin Carr

 

The Close Theatre – The Work, the Experience and the Citizens’ changing programme

Michael Goldberg writing in the 1968 Souvenir Programme for Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking, says of the Close, ‘we are biased in favour of the new and experimental […] the Close Theatre together with the Citizens’ Theatre, exist to provide good plays at two levels: two stages in one building’. (Development Appeal Programme, p. 9) Perhaps feeling a need to defend the Close against critics concerned with costs he goes on to say ‘to apply economic standards to the arts is a pointless exercise. No art, unless subsidised can exist today’, an observation that remains as relevant forty years later. (Development Appeal Programme, p. 9) ‘One kind of play that the Citizens’ Theatre could not – because of its size – hope to present was the more intimate, “experimental” work. […] Something smaller, more compact, was necessary for plays of this kind’. (Patterson, p. 3) Clearly in its inception the Close programming was envisaged as a complement to a more conservative main house programme, a relationship that would be subverted by Havergal and his colleagues’ policies within very few years. Nonetheless, the Close was seen then as ‘ideal for more esoteric and experimental work than the main auditorium’. (Oliver, p. 33) It became, in part, a mirror in the west to the work of the Traverse, staging a number of premieres including Simon Gray’s Spoiled, ‘a furtive and quite dirty play’, (Interview with Havergal 14 November 2011) the first performances in Scotland of John Osborne’s Hotel in Amsterdam and plays by Stanley Eveling, Jean Genet and Sam Shepard. (Coveney, pp. 59-60) The idea was to share a company, allowing performers, directors and designers to work on large and small scale: Patterson argues that, in this phase of complementary programming, ‘the two theatres struck sparks off each other and began to build the foundations of a strong common audience’. (Patterson, p. 3) Herein, of course, lies the key to its demise, as Havergal’s tenure saw the experimental brought to the main house. As Coveney argues, the Close’s ‘extraordinary quality was something the Citizens’ managed to incorporate over the years into the main stage work’. (Coveney, p. 61) Yet, in the Close, audiences in Glasgow had the chance to experience ‘how well major works of drama could be presented in such an intimate setting […] that very intimacy offered a frisson new to most of’ them. (Oliver, p. 33) Lavinia Derwent writing colourfully in the Souvenir programme says ‘The trouble with the Close is its closeness. We can see that abandoned damsel sprawling on the rumpled bed is real down to her fernytickle [Scots for ‘freckle’]’. (Development Appeal Programme, p. 13) As Patterson observes, ‘Total involvement was possible […] the experience could be unique […] a kind of Theatre unobtainable elsewhere.’ (Patterson, p. 3)

Goldberg and the board’s tendency to overstep the mark into artistic affairs was, however, demonstrated in an incident during the opening season in Dr Faustus ‘with the avant-garde American Charles Marowitz directing his own version involving masks of prominent personalities’. (Oliver, p. 31) Goldberg objected to a portrayal of the Queen and asked Marowitz to cut it. He refused, Goldberg and some members of the board got to their feet prior to the performance to publicly disassociate themselves from the production;

Marowitz stuck his head through the window of the lighting box at the back of the room and yelled vituperatively at the patriotic dissenters. The performance was adjourned, everyone went to the bar, and there followed a great meeting of the Close membership during which Goldberg was firmly advised by a majority not to interfere in matters of artistic licence. (Coveney, p. 60)

Goldberg seemed to play the role of Lord Chamberlain where it was neither needed nor wanted at a time when the incumbent of that office was struggling to retain control. Perhaps both were out of touch. According to Coveney Goldberg’s ‘idea of theatre culture was eclipsed in the artistic and social climate of the late 1960s’. His vision of the Close was as ‘a genuinely intellectual forum of debate and discussion, with drinks, dinner and a spot of Ionesco’. (Coveney, p. 61) The debate he got was one that questioned the nature of theatre itself with, for example, in Giles Havergal’s words, ‘David Hayman in a pair of Y-Fronts talking about wanking’. (Telephone interview with Havergal, 7 November 2011)

 

In the summer of 1969, Giles Havergal was appointed Artistic Director, ‘the least desirable job in British theatre because he had pulled the Civic Theatre in Watford out of the doldrums by presenting “star names” from the West End’. (McDonald, p. 11) As the triumvirate of Havergal, Prowse and MacDonald settled into their stride in the main house, moving into experimental areas the Close had been set up to fill, the Close, under the direction of Robert Walker, ‘was venturing further than ever into avant-garde waters’ (Oliver, p. 40) with plays such as Cowboys, Icarus’s Mother and The Rock Garden by Sam Shepard and The Tower by Peter Weiss. In Havergal’s view, ‘There was some very exciting work done [… but] some of it was God awful’. (In person interview with Havergal, 2011) He continues:

The Spring Season of 1970 at the Close was a sort of blueprint for what we then did in the Citizens’ and it incorporated some of the same actors, David Hayman in particular. […] In the Autumn of 1970 when we got this gang of kids together, the idea was that we would have twelve on the main stage and six in the Close as a permanent company. (In person interview with Havergal, 2011)

A row surrounded Walker’s production of Shelley’s The Cenci in the version by Antonin Artaud, ‘whose concept of the “theatre of cruelty” was as yet unknown to Scottish audiences’. (Oliver, p. 41) Christopher Small of the Glasgow Herald called it ‘an idiotic piece of self-indulgence’. (Oliver, p. 155) The subject matter of incest and patricide led to protestors who, according to Oliver, not having seen the production, called for the ‘immediate, enforced departure of Havergal and his lewd and lustful cohorts’. (p. 41) Havergal recalls ‘it was bloody marvellous; the combination of Philip’s design and Bob’s work’. (In person interview with Havergal, 2011) Havergal remembers the Close during the years after his appointment as

[t]he story of directors. There was Robert Walker […]‘Tis pity She’s a Whore directed by Rob, designed by Philip with the whole Close lit by candlelight. It was really wonderful. It was the precursor of the realisation that a lot of those plays work so much better the closer you are to them.

Keith Hack, his Titus Andronicus with Rupert Fraser as Titus which we toured to Germany.

Lindsay Kemp’s The Maids […] he was daft as a brush even then […] If you’re doing Genet, you’ll never see it better.

Stephen Dartnell […] began to do a series of productions where he siphoned off pretty well the same actors from the main company and did what we would now call very studio work, based on improvisation and so on. He did a Marat Sade, a Lear with seven people […] and then the Pinters: The Collection and A Slight Ache which we then took to the Bitef Festival in Belgrade. (In person interview with Havergal, 2011)

There is another dimension, however, to the importance of the Close and its programme. The Scottish Theatre Archive holds a large collection of its programmes and publicity material. These show that many performers later well-known in Scotland and further afield played in the Close, notably, Billy Connolly with Gerry Rafferty as the Humblebums; Richard Wilson in several plays in the 1967-68 season including Naked by Pirandello; and David Hayman in, amongst others, Cowboys No.2 by Sam Shepard. A programme for the 1965 production of Waiting for Godot19 shows The Boy was played by Brian Pettifer, known to TV audiences for his later roles in Hamish Macbeth and Rab C. Nesbitt. This programme is slipped saying ‘At this performance the part of The Boy will be played by Alex Norton’. Norton, after a career as a leading actor in 7:84 (Scotland) in the 1970s, is well known as DCI Matt Burke in Taggart and Captain Bellamy in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. It was not just the company of the Citizens’ that performed in the Close. Theatre companies from Glasgow and beyond used the space. Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera for All were regular visitors. Hull Truck visited in January 1972 with The Weekend after next.20 Presaging the Arches Theatre twenty years later, the Close began to hold Discotheque evenings in the 1970s, adding a new revenue stream to the theatre’s income.21

 

“End” for Close. Doubt over Citizens’ – city theatre swept by blaze 22

In the early hours of 7 May 1973 fire broke out in the Close Theatre. Smoke was spotted by a passing taxi driver. The alarm was raised. Eleven families were evacuated from adjacent properties while ‘firemen from twelve brigades fought the blaze’.

Margaret Brady (84) who lives with her son William (64) above the theatre told how she was awakened from her bed. “I heard this terrible thumping at the door” she said. “This man […] told us to get out as quickly as possible.” […] “It was raining and the police took us to the training school. I was terrified.” (Evening Times 7 May 1973, p.1)

‘Another old woman, 73 year old Mrs Bridget Cannon of 119 Gorbals St, did not want to leave her home without her dog.’ Mrs Cannon and Sheila the dog are pictured safe and well. (Evening Times, p. 3) In the Glasgow Herald of Tuesday 8 May it was reported that thieves were suspected: a rear door had been forced and a cigarette machine broken into. (1973, p. 1) Damage was extensive. ‘William Taylor, chair of the Citizens’ Theatre […] said “The roof of the Close Theatre is completely gone”’. (Glasgow Herald 9 May 1973, p. 1) The cost of repairs including those to the Citizens’ and the neighbouring Palace Bingo Hall ‘both of which suffered mainly water damage’, was estimated at £60,000. (Glasgow Herald 8 May 1973, p. 1) John Armour, Master of Works for Glasgow Corporation, met with ‘the City Architect who “technically owns the building on behalf of the corporation”’ (Glasgow Herald 9 May 1973, p. 1) to assess the situation. The facade of the Close incorporated ‘six Roman Doric columns and statues’ (Glasgow Herald 8 May 1973, p. 1) by architect David Hamilton which came from a Mansion House in Ingram Street across the Clyde in the Merchant City area. It was hoped that these could be saved and re-sited elsewhere in the city.

[t]he Lord Provost promised corporation help for the Close. He said “The theatre will need to look for other accommodation, and Glasgow will cooperate in every way it can when the Close Theatre committee decide on the most suitable site for a new building.”

[…] the Citizens’ would eventually be removed to the new cultural centre and concert hall. (p. 1)

 

There were then, in any case, plans afoot to relocate the Citizens’ to make way for the M74 Motorway extension, a project which eventually opened to traffic on 28 June 2011 south of the theatre. There is much correspondence in the Scottish Theatre Archive between artistic directors of the Citizens’ and theatre consultant John Wyckham, the earliest being in 1968. Then, the board is told of his appointment to examine the suitability of the Theatre Royal or the Metropole as a possible new homes for the Citizens’. (Minutes, 25 October 1968) One option, favoured by the Corporation, was a city centre cultural complex for which architect Sir Leslie Martin had well-developed plans. The worsening economic situation in the mid 1970s led to such plans being shelved, the Royal Concert Hall, the only part of the scheme to be realised, eventually opening for the City of Culture in 1990. (glasgowconcerthalls.com 2011)

 

Cordelia Oliver remarks that ‘The demise of the Close Theatre was much regretted, not the club element but the theatre itself.’ (Oliver, p. 186) Stephen White, manager at the time of the fire said

this is tragic. It is impossible to put a price on all the effort and work that has gone into the theatre. The membership was growing every week and I think the Close provided a welcome breath of originality to Scottish theatres. (Glasgow Herald 8 May 1973, p. 1)

Not all shared this view. Havergal recalls ‘Philip [Prowse] famously telegrammed from wherever he was working saying “Be in no hurry to rebuild the horrid little place”’. (Interview with Havergal 2011) Havergal came to see the loss as a blessing. He later told Michael Coveney, ‘In the old days, the Close was a leech, using a lot of manpower and resources, and it drove us mad.’ (Coveney, p. 61) Interviewed for this article, he said,

Money was incredibly tight. We didn’t have the wherewithal to run one theatre let alone two. It was becoming more and more a drag on the finances, and it stopped us moving ahead. […] It was a blood transfusion when it went. […] (In person interview with Havergal, 2011)

Figure 5 – The Facade showing the six Doric columns

 

The Legacy – after the Close

The loss of the Close may have been a blow to some at the time, but, had it not burned down, its days were probably numbered anyway. Havergal and his team concentrated their efforts into the main house.

It meant we could focus on the Citizens’, and we all said we’ll get a studio when we’re up and running and then, twenty years later, we did; because it was suddenly right. Then ironically the studios took the energy and the Citizens’ lost it in the last ten years of my time there. (In person interview with Havergal, 2011) There were artistic reasons not to have a studio at that time too. ‘We were being pretty extreme in the main house, so where did that leave you?’ (Interview with Havergal 2011) The Citizens’ was struggling to get decent houses. Jan McDonald argues that Havergal and Prowse felt that because nobody was attending shows they may as well stage plays in ways that they found exciting: ‘If nobody likes what we do, we can do what we like.’ They produced what some described, perhaps less than generously, as ‘Theatre of blood and glitter’. (McDonald, p. 11) Havergal says he learnt from that period that, if the audience knew the play, they would accept even the most extreme interpretation, design and staging. So without the encumbrance of the Close, the Citizens’ carried on growing in reputation. For a long time, however, it was thought that the Close Theatre Club would find a new home, either in a rebuilt Close or elsewhere. The Club was not formally wound up and at the 1974 AGM of the Citizens’ the meeting noted that interest had accrued on surplus funds from the revenue grant to the Close. (Minutes 16 October 1974)

Some began to consider the possibility of a new small venue. The most prominent, Glasgow Chartered Accountant Joe Gerber, had been on the Board of the Traverse Theatre and was chairman in 1972-73. (McMillan, p. 189) He resigned from the Traverse board in September 1976 after the appointment of Chris Parr whose touring policy he disagreed with. (McMillan, p. 79) Gerber joined the Arts Council in January 1975 and noted that money was still being set aside for the Close.23 At a chance meeting with Ronnie Singleton of the Citizens’ Board, Gerber learned of the surplus in the Close Theatre accounts and that there seemed little likelihood of its being used. Gerber, with Tom Laurie and Tom McGrath of the Third Eye Centre in Sauchiehall Street, began to look for venues with potential for conversion to a new theatre and in February 1978 held a public meeting to gauge support for such a venture. 150 people attended and support was strong enough to formally constitute Glasgow Theatre Club in April 1978. (Gerber, pp. 2-3) Part of a building in St Enoch Square was a possibility for conversion. A warehouse, it had once been Henry Crouch’s Theatre of Varieties, but when the owners had the opportunity to lease all three floors, plans were dropped. Architect Peter McGurn then introduced Glasgow Theatre Club to the Tron Church on Trongate. Gerber’s reaction demonstrates the worry that the Tron proposal generated:

The contrast between the condition of that Church and that of the St. Enoch building was frightening but the Church was owned by Glasgow District Council and it was an historic building. These two facts meant that it could be had for a trifling rent and would qualify for grants from the Historic Buildings Council. So, with much anxiety at the transformation of a small project into a large one, the Committee proceeded to plan the conversion. (Gerber, p. 4)

The existence of the Close directly contributed to the development of the Tron. Coveney notes:

The Tron came about largely due to the voluntary work and enthusiasm of many former supporters of the Close at the Citizens’, who wanted a new studio space for Glasgow, and were prepared to spend their Sundays, painting and distempering the interior of the old Tron kirk to get one. (Coveney, p. 26)

There was financial contribution too. In January 1980, Gerber wrote to Ronnie Singleton of the Citizens’ Board requesting that the remaining funds of the Close Theatre Club be transferred to the Glasgow Theatre Club.24 A sum of £5,964 was transferred at the end of the financial year.25

 

Conclusion

The Close Theatre and Close Theatre Club clearly contributed to theatre in Glasgow. With its presence, Glasgow became accustomed to the idea of an experimental theatre trying out new work, new interpretations of existing work and giving opportunities to writers, actors, designers and directors. In years to come, the Tron would come about as a direct result of the passing of the Close, focussing as it did on new work. Subsequently, The Arches Theatre would come into being giving opportunities for performers and new types of artistic practise. The Close had, to some extent, fulfilled both these roles in its short existence, paving the way for Glasgow City of Culture and beyond.

 

Appendices

Appendix 1 – Close Theatre Productions, 1965-70
Appendix 2 – Minutes of the Board of Directors of the Citizens’ Theatre – notes and extracts
Appendix 3 – Full Transcript of Martin Carr account of Close Theatre
Appendix 4 – A Tale of Two Clubs by Joe Gerber

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Endnotes

1 Report of the Directors to the AGM of the Citizens’ Theatre 31 July 1966.
2 Minutes of the Board of the Citizens’ Theatre, 6 October 1964.
3 Minutes, 1 September 1964 (for further details see transcript extracts of minutes appended).
4 Minutes, 3 November, 1964, n.p.
5 Ibid, n.p.
6 Ibid, n.p.
7 Ibid, n.p.
8 Ibid, n.p.
9 Minutes, 6 January, 1965.
10 Minutes, 13 April, 1965.
11 Minutes, 13 May, 1965.
12 ‘Queen Elizabeth Tower Blocks’ in Sir Basil Spence <http://basilspence.org.uk/living/buildings/gorbals> [accessed 20 June 2013].
13 Minutes, 17 June, 1965.
14 For further reading see extract from Eric Eunson, The Gorbals: An illustrated history; (Glasgow: Richard Stenlake Publishing, 1996), p. 51.
15 Minutes, 16 November 1965.
16 Minutes, 31 July 1966.
17 Minutes, 29 September 1968.
18 Further Development Appeal Programme.
19 Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett. Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, 1965 November 10-28. Prompt script Call Number: STA Hu 67. Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett. Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, 1965 November 10-28. Prompt script Call Number: STA Hu 67.
Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett. Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, 1965 November 10-28. Prompt script Call Number: STA Hu 67.
20 Programmes of the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, 1967-1970 Record No 279 Ref GB 247 STA E Call STA E Record/Accession No 541.
21 Close Theatre Calendar of productions. 1973 January 16-March 25. Leaflet Call Number: STA Ea 6/35q.
22 Evening Times Monday 7 May 1973, p.1.
23 Joe Gerber, A Tale of Two Clubs, undated source from the Tron Theatre Archive, collected May 31 2011, p. 1 (for further reading see full transcript appended). Joe Gerber, A Tale of Two Clubs, undated source from the Tron Theatre Archive, collected May 31 2011, p. 1 (for further reading see full transcript appended).
Joe Gerber, A Tale of Two Clubs, undated source from the Tron Theatre Archive, collected May 31 2011, p. 1 (for further reading see full transcript appended).
24 Letter from Joe Gerber of Gerber, Land and Gee Chartered Accountants 31 January 1980.
25 Financial statements prepared by McLachlan & Brown, C. A., Glasgow for the five years of the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, starting from 31 March 1976 and ending 31 March 1980 Call Number: STA Ea 10/25.

 

References

‘About’ in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, <http://www.glasgowconcerthalls.com/grch> [accessed 27 November 2011]

CARR, M. The Close Theatre, Glasgow and The Swan at Worcester, STA Eb 5/22
Close Theatre Calendar of productions. 1973 January 16-March 25. Leaflet Call Number: STA Ea 6/35q
The Close Theatre Club Development Appeal Souvenir Programme– Gala Performances of Alyn Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking 19th December 1968 – 5th January 1969

COVENEY, M. 1990. The Citz – 21 Years of the Glasgow Citizens Theatre. London: Nick Hern Books.

CUTHBERTSON, I., LEIGH, A. and LYONS, M. eds. 1964. Citizens’ Theatre: Twenty-First Anniversary Conspectus 1943:1964. Glasgow: Citizens Theatre Limited. ‘Direct Operated Dimmer Boards’ in The Strand Archive, <http://www.strandarchive.co.uk/control/directoperated/sliderdimmers.html> [accessed 26 November 2011]

EUNSON, E. 1996. The Gorbals: An illustrated history. Glasgow: Richard Stenlake Publishing.

Evening Times, 7 May 1973.

Financial statements prepared by McLachlan & Brown, C. A., Glasgow for the five years of the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, starting from 31 March 1976 and ending 31 March 1980 Call Number: STA Ea 10/25

‘George Singleton’ in Scottish Screen Archive, <http://ssa.nls.uk/biography.cfm?bid=10031> [accessed 26 November 2011]

Gerber, Joe, A Tale of Two Clubs, undated source from the Tron Theatre Archive, collected May 31 2011

Glasgow Herald, 8 May 1973.

Glasgow Herald, 9 May 1973. Financial statements prepared by McLachlan & Brown, C. A., Glasgow for the five years of the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, starting from 31 March 1976 and ending 31 March 1980 Call Number: STA Ea 10/25.
‘Home’ in Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, <http://www.rcs.ac.uk/> [accessed 11 November 2011]

Interview with Giles Havergal, Battersea, 14 November 2011

JAMIESON, C. 2009. Glasgow. London: Frances Lincoln.

LANE, J. 1978. Arts Centres: Every town should have one. London and New Hampshire: Paul Elek.

Letter from Joe Gerber of Gerber, Land and Gee Chartered Accountants 31 January 1980

‘M74 Completion’ in Transport Scotland, <http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/projects/m74-completion> [accessed 27 November 2011]

MAVER, I. 2000. Glasgow. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

McARTHUR, A. and KINGSLEY LONG, H. 1957. No Mean City. London: Neville Spearman, 1956, Corgi Edition 1957.

McDONALD, J. 1984. What is a Citizens’ Theatre? In: Proceedings of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow; New Series, no. 1 (November). Dundee: Lochee Publications.

McMILLAN, J. with CARNEGIE, J. 1988. The Traverse Theatre Story 1963-1988. London: Methuen Drama.

Minute of meetings of Directors, held at The Citizens’ Theatre, Gorbals Street, Glasgow, 23 March 1964-28 February 1969 Call Number: STA Ec 6

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Citizens’ Theatre, 16 October 1974 STA Ec 9/1

OLIVER, C. 1999. Magic in the Gorbals – A personal record of the Citizens’ Theatre. Famedram: Northern Books.

PATTERSON, T. 1970. Citizens’ Theatre, Gorbals, Glasgow: Its story from the beginning to the present day. Glasgow: Citizens’ Theatre.

Programmes of the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, 1967-1970 Record No 279 Ref GB 247 STA E Call STA E Record/Accession No 541
‘Queen Elizabeth Tower Blocks’ in Sir Basil Spence, <http://basilspence.org.uk/living/buildings/gorbals> [accessed 20 June 2013] ‘Queen Elizabeth Tower Blocks’ in Sir Basil Spence, <http://basilspence.org.uk/living/buildings/gorbals> [accessed 20 June 2013]

Report of the Directors to the AGM of the Citizens’ Theatre 31 July 1966

RUNDALL, J. 1966. Fresh Sap for the Withered Tree, The Tulane Drama Review, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Winter) The MIT Press.
The Swan at Worcester and the Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, by Martin Carr. Article from a journal Call Number: STA Eb 5/22

Telephone interview with Giles Havergal, 7 November 2011

Telephone interview with Martin Carr, 9 November 2011

Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett. Close Theatre Club, Glasgow, 1965 November 10-28. Prompt script Call Number: STA Hu 67
WHITE, E. W. 1975. The Arts Council of Great Britain. London: David Poynter.

Figures

Figure 1 – ‘Facade of Royal Princess’s and Palace Theatres’ in Pantomime in Scotland, <http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/cca/research/theatrefilmandtelevision/projectsandnetworks/pantomimeinscotland/pantomimeinscotlandconcerts/ University of Glasgow> [accessed 15 December 2011]
Figure 2 – ‘Photograph of Giles Havergal’ in Client Pages, <http://www.alanbrodie.com/clients/client_pages/H/Giles_Havergal.html Alan Brodie Representation> [accessed 15 December 2011}
Figure 3 – ‘The interior of the Close, photograph’ in The Glasgow Story, <http://www.theglasgowstory.com/image.php?inum=TGSA00246&t=2&urltp=searchq.php%3Fqsearch%3Ddrama%26amp%3Bstart%3D0%26amp%3Bend%3D20%26amp%3Bft%3D32%26amp%3Bl%3Dy The Glasgow Story> [accessed 15 December 2011]
Figure 4 – Plan of the Close Theatre. Redrafted from the original by Martin Carr contained in the Scottish Theatre Archive. Carr, Martin; The Close Theatre, Glasgow and The Swan at Worcester, STA Eb 5/22.
Figure 5 – ‘The Facade showing the columns’ in Exploring Scotland’s Places, <http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/highlights-big-picture/page-28> [accessed 15 December 2011]