Here is a glimpse behind the scenes of Glasgow’s oldest and Scotland’s longest-running theatre, the Theatre Royal.
Originally opening as the Royal Colosseum & Opera House in 1867, the theatre changed its name in 1869 on receiving its royal charter (and confirmation of respectability) from Queen Victoria.
Literally hewn from the stone quarry below, it has survived multiple fires, changes of ownership and a stint as the headquarters of Scottish Television and now stands resplendent on the corner of Hope Street and Cowcaddens Road, its Victorian auditorium restored to its full glory and its 2014 extension shining like a splendid jewel. Home to Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet the grande dame of Scottish theatre is better than it has ever been in its near-150 year life.
The new foyer and staircase designed by Page and Park and opened during the 2014 festive season.
Artem Special Effects Ltd has been designing and producing physical special effects for film, television, commercials and music videos since its inception in 1987. A BBC approved supplier, Artem has fully stocked and serviced workshops in Glasgow and West London. The company works across all creative sectors including film, television, commercials, museums and exhibitions and provides the full spectrum of physical SFX.
Artem’s film credits include T2 Trainspotting, Paddington 2, Valhalla Rising, Perfect Sense, The Eagle, The Legend of Barney Thomson, I Survived a Zombie Apocalypse, Macbeth, Sunset Song, Whisky Galore and the up-coming The Foreigner with Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan. They have worked with Take That, Meghan Trainor, U2 and Coldplay. In commercials with Nike, Sainsburys, Vodaphone, Sony to name a tiny sample. Theatre work includes Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They have also delivered many spectacular, iconic props and SFX for the London 2012 Olympics & Paralympics – the giant Voldemort, Queen of Hearts and Cruella de Ville to mention just a few and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – who remembers the giant Tunnocks Teacakes?
This week I was privileged to get a behind the scenes insight into the work of this amazing company. From props to special effect make up, to bombs, fire walls and exploding cars. Here is the first photo blog of the company’s prop work. Next up special effects makeup then the more explosive stuff!
Back in 2013, GTB was invited to breakfast with Scottish Ballet as they went through their morning class before the matinee and evening performances of Matthew Bourne’s innovative take on La Sylphide – Highland Fling.
Here, from the archives are some rehearsal videos and behind the scenes shots of this hard-working (6 days a week!) company. Excuse the ropey camera phone video quality. Such a fabulous show – set in Glasgow – it deserves another moment in the spotlight.
Sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll is not the usual tag line for a Scottish Ballet production but Matthew Bourne could never be accused of being your usual choreographer and Scottish Ballet continue to cement their reputation as a company with a clear artistic vision, breaking new ground by introducing innovative modern works alongside their vast classical repertoire.
This piece marks the first time Matthew Bourne has ever allowed another company to perform one of his works, such is his control over his artistic vision. That said, the two seemed destined to come together, Bourne’s Glasgow-set ballet finally coming home to the city and Scotland’s national ballet company.
Inspired by the classic romantic work La Sylphide, Highland Fling is an imaginative re-working by Bourne with his usual wry twist and trademark eye for detail.
Highland Fling follows the story of James, a restless young Glaswegian recently married to his devoted girlfriend Effie, but James’ addiction to excess and desire to break free of the restrictions and expectations placed on him by his environment finds him in the fateful company of a beguiling gothic fairy. As his love for the strange and beautiful sylph becomes an obsession, he embarks on a fateful journey that takes him from the mean streets and nightclubs of Glasgow into a magical world beyond reality and reason.
As our (anti)hero staggers on-set and slumps to the floor against a urinal in the toilet of a Glasgow nightclub we are in no doubt that this isn’t going to be your usual ballet, but what really sets it apart, along with all of Bourne’s work, is the stunning complexity and intricacy of the choreography and the sharpness and accuracy with which it is executed. Owen Thorne’s performance as James is a testament to Bourne’s particular method of working: this is a character with a history, a back-story and Thorne manages to deliver the choreography whilst perfectly conveying the conflicted Glaswegian tough-guy persona underneath. Bethany Kingsley-Garner as the sylph is utterly other-worldly, beautifully conveying this bewitching creature from another realm. Both are ably supported by an ensemble of characters instantly recognisable to any city dweller.
Lez Brotherston’s set design is a character in itself. It has more tartan than a tin of shortbread, delivering a technicolour assault to the senses, but looking beyond the obvious, witty nods to the best and worst of Caledonia abound. Brotherston also manages to perfectly evoke the eerie world of the sylphs nestled amongst the debris and detritus of a wasteland in the shadow of the Glasgow highrises.
Part of the beauty of this cautionary tale is its brevity, at just over 95 minutes it packs a visual and emotional punch that leaves you reeling and begging for more.
Last weekend GTB went on a field trip behind the scenes at the historic Citizens Theatre.
The Citizens’ Company, founded in 1943 by Tom Honeyman, James Bridie and Paul Vincent Carroll, was based at first in the Glasgow Athenaeum (now the Conservatoire) moving in 1945 to its present site, then the Royal Princess’s Theatre (below, opened 1878), to become what we now know and love as the Citizens Theatre.
As atmospheric and captivating backstage as it is onstage, here are some pictures from the informative tour.
Tours can be booked on the Citz own website at: http://www.citz.co.uk/whatson/info/backstage_tours/
The tour includes tea and cake if any incentive were needed!