Watch: 'Unloved concrete cavern' beneath Kingston Bridge turned into new performance space

A concrete "dead zone" below Glasgow's iconic Kingston Bridge is being lined up to become a new outdoor culture hub in the city.

Designers and musicians have joined forces to create a short film showing how the new “theatre without walls” could be created beneath one of Europe's busiest road bridges.

Announced half a century after the bridge was opened, it is hoped its "cathedral-like columns" and "brutalist structure" will prove attractive to visual artists, film and theatre-makers and musicians in future.

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Described as “an unloved and unnoticed concrete cavern” in the short film, the Kingston Bridge overpass is being touted as a location for a larger version of the city’s famous Heilanman’s Umbrella – the famous 19th meeting point for Highlanders living and working in Glasgow.

The Under the Bridge concept has been instigated by Glasgow-based design collective Lateral North, in collaboration with artists and musicians based in the city, as an off-shoot of After the Pandemic, an initiative it launched in May to try to “rethink, reimagine and resign” parts of the city in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Glasgow-based violinist Sarah Wagner, musicians from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in the city and street artist Oh Panda were all involved in the 12-minute film, which was shot in the “under-utilised but monumental space” in the summer.

Lateral North director Graham Hogg said: “We started After the Pandemic because we were stuck inside and forced to walk same streets and urban spaces for months, and wanted to re-imagine, re-think, and re-design Glasgow for a post-pandemic world – to take the chance to see it completely anew.

"The space is an underused car park that is unlikely to be active over the coming year. We believe we can curate it into a better space - one that is filled with vibrancy, colour and artists.

Musicians from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland worked on the new 'Under the Bridge' film. Picture: Lateral North

"We are currently speaking to various people within the council and other organisations about how to temporarily get ownership of the site and transform it into an outdoor performance space for the people of Glasgow.

"The aim in the long term is to establish Under the Bridge as an innovative, creative and vibrant outdoor hub for design within Glasgow.”

Wagner said: “The pandemic has created a dire situation for musicians all

across the globe, but this project gives me so much hope for what I see as the future of classical music.

Violinist Sarah Wagner instigated the 'Under the Bridge' project after recording a solo performance beneath the Kingston Bridge in June.

"We can't keep this music locked away in concert halls like museum pieces, it deserves to continue to live and breathe with us today and become a part of our everyday spaces.

"I hope this project will inspire us to shift the conversation away from what classical music meant 300 years ago to what it means to us today.”

Oh Panda said: “As a street artist, the pillars under the bridge are the perfect

canvas.

It is believed that the Kingston Bridge normally carries more than 150,000 vehicles every day. Picture: John Devlin

"I spend a lot of my time looking for spots around the city and I try my best to find ones that will be improved by painting on them. This area is a bit of a dead zone and I think creating art and music here would be such a

great way to bring it to life.”

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