Category Archives: NEWS

NEWS: War Horse’s Joey visits Glasgow before its run at the SEC Armadillo

The National Theatre’s acclaimed production of War Horse, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo arrives at The SEC Armadillo from 15 January – 2 February 2019 as part of a national tour.

Joey, the life-size equine puppet from War Horse made a special early appearance in Glasgow next to The Duke of Wellington Statue last week as well as his home for January – The SEC Armadillo. The event also included a talk about the history of the show from War Horse’s Assistant Puppetry Director, Matthew Forbes.


The puppeteers operating Joey in Glasgow are: Gareth Aled (Head), Michael Taibi (Heart) and Antony Antunes (Hind).

NEWS: Variety stars to shine at the Festival Theatre this October

Marie Duthie, June Don Murray and Doreen Leighton-Ward are three women from the golden age of Variety.  Aged 94, 90 and 85 respectfully, they are all still dancing. Brought together by director and choreographer Janice Parker these consummate dancers are guaranteed to both awe and entertain.

In early 2016 Janice was approached by the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh to contribute to their engagement programme.  Interested in the idea of authorship, agency and the legacy of older performers in today’s dance world, she put out a call looking for dancers from the Variety era who had at one time or another performed on the stage of The Empire, now Festival Theatre, Edinburgh.

Marie Duthie (nee Pyper) was born in 1923 and trained in Edinburgh. She first danced publicly as a toddler at her father’s amateur concert parties where she met her dance teacher Constance Gabrielle. By 1930 she was also training in ballet, tap and acrobatics with another Edinburgh teacher, Marjorie Middleton. In 1932, at the age of 9, Marie performed the dying swan solo and was noted by Edinburgh’s Evening Dispatch newspaper who said, “memories of Pavlova are brought to mind”. By 1940 she toured the country with The Ganjou Brothers and Juanita. Acrobatics was her speciality and in 1942 she became one half of The Raymond Sisters, extensively touring the UK on the renowned Moss Empire Circuit with her double act, which ended with them in mini kilts singing and tap dancing to Macphersin’ is Rehearsin’ to Swing.

Janice Parker Project – Festival Theatre Edinburgh

Marie  herself says: “I’ve been dancing from the word go. My mother used to say whenever there was any music on I was twitching and moving, always dancing and doing my own version. I feel so at home the minute I put my tap shoes on”.

June Don Murray was born in 1927 into a theatrical family in Scarborough, the daughter of performer and theatre manager Roy Don Parker and dancer Phyllis Ward and grand-daughter of renowned Variety performer, Happy Tom Parker. The family moved to Edinburgh when June was three and her father became manager of the Palladium Theatre. June began her formal training at Madame Ada’s dance school and went on to perform across Scotland and the UK with the Adaline Calder Girls, the Hamish Turner Dancers and then with the Moxon Girls. In 1955 June became the assistant to Australian illusionist The Great Levante, taking part in disappearing acts, bullet tricks and was regularly fired out of a canon.

June says: “Oh, it’s a laugh a minute, we love it, but nobody knows what goes into making a show, the time it takes, how hard we work, the precision”

Doreen Leighton-Ward was born in 1931 in Edinburgh and began her dance training in Madame Ada’s Dance School in Picardy Place Edinburgh as one of the Calderettes. At the age of 15 she becomes a Calder girl and toured in pantomime across the country before becoming head girl with The Hamish Turner Troupe. In 1953 Doreen attended an Equity meeting, initiated a strike, and successfully challenged and changed the working pay of dancers in Variety theatre. She appears as an unnamed mystery woman in a photograph of that meeting in The Scotsman. Doreen went on to dance in musical theatre and to appear in many TV dramas. She was recently choreographer for The Last Post, directed by Susan Worsfold as part of the Made In Scotland Showcase 2017.

Doreen says ‘’Ours was a small piece of a large jigsaw from which other dance styles evolved. I’ve a renewed sense of worth in the work we did 65 years ago. This is exciting, heady stuff.”

Director Janice Parker commented: “These women have never stopped dancing and continue to transmit their love of the art form and for the act of dancing. They have so much knowledge, skill and passion. True forces of nature. For a year now we have been working together a day a week collecting, gathering, exchanging and dancing. We have two young dancers in their 20s in the company, Katie Miller and Daisy Douglas, who are learning choreography and technique from Marie, June and Doreen. They are also learning about the life of these women and its relevance and contribution to dance now.

We are three generations of dancing. I turn 60 this year and long to give agency, authorship and relevance to older women dancing, to their continuing possibilities and to the stories our bodies tell.

There is so much to share. At the peak of their careers Variety dancers were in the main unnamed.  Some weeks they were doing 13 shows a week and travelling to the next venue with their costumes, sheet music, and the occasional dog and kangaroo. And all on their day ‘off’!” An Audience With… is a way of giving voice and recognition and a means to share the energy and vivacity of these dancers.”

The live events take place, aptly, in the Festival Theatre’s Empire Rooms. Structured loosely around a guided tour. An Audience With… is a live and virtual experience with six dancers, from three generations who share their dancing lives, past, present and future.

Marie, June and Doreen say: “We dance. We talk about dance. We talk about the profession then and the profession now. We talk about ourselves. We’ve danced in the studio, the dressing rooms, in the theatre bar, in the foyer and back on the main stage Janice, Katie and Daisy are learning to tap dance. We do the five positions of ballet. We work on portable tap mats and sometimes ballet barres. We experiment with seated dance, and a bit of creative contemporary. We teach class. We talk about dance not just as the mastery of steps but also as the ‘feeling’ of movement, swinging, hanging loose and feeling the music. We know the importance of rehearsal and repetition. We choreograph. And we think about what it means to be an older dancer, what it feels like to not be able to do what you once could and did do, and what it means to do it differently.”

Paul Hudson, Forget Me Not Co-ordinator says: “To actually have people in-residence in the building has brought our history and our stories alive and gives perspective on what we are doing now. The staff love watching these women dance and hearing about their time on the Empire stage.”

In 2018, An Audience With… will also produce a book and a film, and the dancers will continue meeting weekly. They are also interested in meeting other dancers from that era.

An Audience with… will be at the Empire Rooms in the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh on Saturday 21, Thursday 26 and Saturday 28 October 2017  from 3pm to 4.30pm.

The venue is wheelchair accessible and guide dogs are welcome.

Images: Greg Macvean 

NEWS: Glasgow Theatre Blog in Feedspots’ Top 30 Theatre Blogs on the planet!

Some nice news from 2016 for a change. The blog has been placed in Feedspot’s annual Top Theatre Blogs on the Planet at no.14.

Here’s how they measure it:

The Best Theatre blogs are chosen from thousands of top Theatre blogs in our index using search and social metrics.

These blogs are ranked based on following criteria

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review.

From the team at Feedspot:

“CONGRATULATIONS to every blogger that has made this Top Theatre Blogs list! This is the most comprehensive list of best Theatre blogs on the internet and I’m honoured to have you as part of this”.


See more here

NEWS: Glasgow Theatre Blog Voted in the Top 3 Most Influential UK Theatre Blogs

It’s with great pleasure that we received the news last week that Glasgow Theatre Blog was not only voted in the Top 10 most influential theatre blogs in the UK but was in the top 3.

A huge thanks to everyone who reads this blog – it’s all down to you and it makes all the hours at the keyboard so worth while.

And thanks to the Cision Media Rankings for the news.


NEWS: Glasgow Theatre Blog in’s Top Ten Theatre Blogs

The lovely people at have compiled a list of the UK’s Top Ten Theatre Blogs and I’m delighted to say that Glasgow Theatre Blog is on the list, check out all ten theatre blogs here:

It’s a great privilege for the blog but it’s an even bigger privilege to promote theatre in our brilliant city – so thanks to you for continuing to visit.



NEWS: GTB features in Herald today

There’s a great article today from The Herald’s Julie McDowall on Oran Mor and the Glasgow theatre scene. I’m delighted to say that GTB was involved and there’s a wee quote from us in the article. Well worth checking out if you are interested or involved in theatre in our city. Find it here:

Oran More image: Leslie Black

NEWS: The perfect Christmas experience with Scottish Ballet and Blythswood Square


Scottish Ballet and the wonderful Blythswood Square Hotel and Spa have teamed up to bring you the perfect festive day out. 


This winter, Scottish Ballet are offering up their own tasty new treat with the world premiere of the fantastical Hansel & Gretel. This delightfully inventive, brand new Hansel & Gretel takes creative twists and turns inspired by the Grimm Brother’s famous fairy tale – and the stories and imagination of the people of Scotland, gathered from a year-long country-wide initiative called Hansel & Gretel and Me.

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Photo by Christina Reilly © Scottish Ballet used with permission Scottish Ballet do not copy, alter or reproduce

In Glasgow you can turn a trip to the ballet into a truly magical day out by adding an extra special Hansel and Gretel Afternoon Tea and accompanying cocktail. The beautiful Blythswood Square Hotel and Spa have created a tea menu to temp even the most jaded of palates; from spicy gingerbread men, melt in the mouth meringues to popping candy carrot cake, there’s even a mouth-watering cocktail The Woodcutter’s Wife if tea is too tame for you.



A selection of sandwiches, scones and sweet treats inspired by Hansel & Gretel.

Priced £22 per person.


Woodcutter’s Wife Cocktail


A tantalising cocktail inspired by the classic childhood fable. A combination Martin Miller’s Gin with Amaro Nonino, fresh lemon juice, lemon curd and ginger syrup, candied peach pureé and a splash of egg white. Shaken and served punch style with crumbled puff candy on top.

Priced £9.75 per cocktail.

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This weekend 25 of Glasgow’s most gorgeous bloggers got the chance to sample the whole wonderful package from morning cocktails to afternoon tea and sandwiches to the beautiful ballet itself and as a truly magical Christmas experience this is hard to beat. If you want the perfect Christmas treat visit: and

photoTerms and Conditions:

Hansel & Gretel specials are subject to availability and valid from the 3rd December 2013 until 31st January 2014.


Hansel and Gretel is at the Theatre Royal in  Glasgow from 10 – 28 December, then touring: Edinburgh (8 – 11 January), Aberdeen (15 – 18 January), Inverness (22 – 25 January), Newcastle (29 January – 1 February) and Belfast (5 – 8 February).


Eve Mutso and Company dancers in Christopher Hampson’s Hansel & Gretel. Photograph by Andy Ross.

Hallowe’en special make-up tutorial from Scottish Ballet

In preparation for Scottish Ballet’s Christmas spectacular Hansel and Gretel the company have today released a Hallowe’en make-up tutorial created by MAC Senior Make Up Artist Caroline Donnelly and  inspired by the ballet’s famous Wicked Witch.

The original video can be found here and below:

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