In pictures: Glasgow theatres then and now

GLASGOW’S theatreland is in rude health with a series of rennovations and expansions at its leading venues.

Actor and comedian Spike Milligan hangs on to the back of a Cameron's Commandos truck outside the Alhambra Theatre in July 1967. Picture: TSPL
Actor and comedian Spike Milligan hangs on to the back of a Cameron's Commandos truck outside the Alhambra Theatre in July 1967. Picture: TSPL

The city centre Theatre Royal has benefited from a recent £11 million makeover and ambitious plans are being drawn up to breathe new life into the much-loved Citizens in the Gorbals.

The King’s at Charing Cross still attracts the biggest touring shows from London’s West End while the national home of Scottish variety, the Pavilion, continues to delight audiences from across the country.

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Glasgow once boasted several other major theatres, the most famous of which, the Empire, was known as ‘the graveyard of comics’.

Bethe Wadell and Anthony Newman in a Childrens Theatre production of Pat-a-Cake Pat-a-Cake Bakers Man at the Citizens Theatre in 1957

Situated on Sauchiehall Street, where the present day Empire House office block stands, it was notorious for its unforgiving audiences.

Veteran Scots entertainer Johnny Beattie summed up their attitude as: “If they liked you, they let you live.”

The venue was torn down in 1963 after 66 years in business.

A short-distance away, at the corner of Waterloo Street and Wellington Street, stood the vast Alhambra Theatre. With a revolving stage and a capacity of 2,800 it was at one time considered the best venue in the city.

Spike Milligan hams it up with fellow performer Bill Kerr in the box office at the Alhambra Theatre in July 1967. Picture: TSPL

It closed its doors in 1969 following a Cilla Black performance and was demolished two years later.

Popular Scottish singer and entertainer Andy Stewart in his dressing room at the Empire Theatre in 1957. Picture: TSPL
Jack Milroy and Rikki Fulton as Glasgow patter-merchants Francie and Josie at the King's Theatre in June 1988. Picture: TSPL
Jimmy Logan plays Sir Harry Lauder's own piano for his one-man show 'Lauder' ay the King's Theatre Glasgow in 1976. Picture: TSPL
Glasgow Lord Provost Dr Michael Kelly joins Jack Milroy to promote the King's Theatre pantomime in December 1981. Picture: TSPL
The late Gerard Kelly with co-star Elaine C Smith to promote the 2004 King's Theatre pantomime. Picture: TSPL
A 2011 Scottish Ballet production of Sleeping Beauty at the King's Theatre. Picture: Robert Perry.