All the southside’s a stage

Glasgow's famous Citizens Theatre.
Glasgow's famous Citizens Theatre.

THE southside has had a touch of drama about it recently.

With history-steeped venues such as the Citizens Theatre, you could argue that it has always been there — an arts scene bubbling away at the bottom end of Glasgow.

But 2012 has been quite a year for Scottish theatre, and gone are the days when big-name productions demanded big name venues — it seems that the south is rising again.

Collecting information for The Extra’s entertainment pages can sometimes prove challenging — and so the suggestion that our readers venture into the city centre for an upcoming gig is fairly commonplace.

Not the case when it comes to theatre.

From opera to classical works and brand new in-situ pieces staged everywhere from sports centres to swimming pools, we’ve had it all — including world premieres.

The National Theatre of Scotland seems to have taken a shine to the southside, staging more than one opening show at a venue near you.

The buzz created around summer production Macbeth — an one-man version of the Shakespearean play transported to a modern day asylum — was noticeable, framed by constant advertising and Twitter campaigns encouraging would-be audiences to share their pictures alongside its eerie poster.

It saw thousands flock to Tramway in Pollokshields for a show that would go on to garner rave reviews in New York — after Glasgow, naturally.

Last month, it was the turn of the Citz —– the now practically stand-alone stage in the bare landscape of the Gorbals, which has withstood, and continually drawn in audiences, since 1878.

The theatre premiered Medea — another update on a classic, this time featuring London’s brightest stage stars...and yet beginning its journey in Glasgow. And for those of you lamenting missing either of them, there’s another first still running in the unusual setting of Govanhill Baths.

Yes, you read it right: another NTS performance in the middle of the iconic venue’s disused teaching pool.

The topic, as you might have guessed, is related — the show is Lifeguard by Adrian Howells, an intimate and interactive story about the relationship between guard, swimmer and water.

But these shows also prove that the southside is, at the moment, where it’s all happening.

A flick back to page six, and the beginnings of a long-term project based on the community of Albert Drive only helps to cement the idea that our neighbourhood is coming over all theatrical.

The westend can keep its little art galleries, the city centre its gig venues – because by the sound of the Albert Drive project’s end result, the southside is definitely where the party’s at.

And, when the idea moves on to London or New York, there can be no better feeling than saying you saw it, here, first...

n What do you think? Share your thoughts by visiting www.glasgowextra.co.uk, or by emailing gillian.loney@jpress.co.uk.