A KEY milestone has been reached in the redevelopment of a famed Southside theatre despite numerous challenges.

Work to overhaul the Citizens Theatre is set to be complete next year with productions on stage to return by the end of 2024.

Opening activities are expected from autumn next year with the first full production on stage being the Christmas show in Nov/Dec 2024.

It comes after the Citizens Theatre moved out of its historic home in the Gorbals in 2018 to allow for the first major redevelopment of the Category B-listed building since it began life as a working theatre in 1878.

Glasgow Times: AuditoriumAuditorium (Image: Mike Hume)

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Work on-site by the contractor Kier began in autumn 2019, but was disrupted by the Covid lockdown.

It was further impacted by rolling lockdown restrictions and bosses say other significant UK and global events continued to impact progress.

Contractors have faced several challenges during the rebuild due to the delicate work of upgrading the building while preserving its unique heritage.

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During the renovation, builders grappled with various unforeseen onsite discoveries, some of which were structurally critical and affected the overall move to completion.

Now, with a reopening date in mind, the revamp of the building promises to secure the future of one of Scotland's seminal buildings and leading producing theatre companies.

Dominic Hill, artistic director at Citizens Theatre, said: “As we enter the final stages of the project, we eagerly anticipate returning home next year and filling our building once more with audiences, artists, participants and theatre-makers of all ages and experiences."

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Amid the redevelopment, the theatre company has continued to present work nationwide.

Dominic added: "We are grateful to the many venues and companies across Scotland who have hosted us while we continued to produce our shows in other theatres, community spaces and even car parks.

"But we are ultimately rooted in the Gorbals, in our own building, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone to the new Citizens Theatre when we re-open in 2024"

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The focus is now on preparations for re-opening while maintaining its participation programme across the city.

Alex McGowan, executive director of Citizens Theatre, said: “It’s great to feel that we are entering the final phase of the project now and can start to plan and visualise the programmes of work that will bring the building alive, igniting old and new relationships with the huge range of people the Citz engages.

"We have new neighbours directly across the road and old friends who are eager to return.

"There is still a lot of hard work to do, but we are confident that what will be achieved at the end of the project will be transformative for future generations of theatre-goers and theatre-makers.”

Key funders of the project include Glasgow City Council, Scottish Government, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Creative Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland in addition to a range of trusts and foundations and individual supporters.