Minutes of an Ordinary Meeting of the
Old Glasgow Club
Held at Adelaides, 209 Bath Street
On Thursday 12th December 2013 at
Petrina Cairns (President)
Cairns welcomed members and visitors to the December meeting. Ms Cairns
explained fire drill procedures, housekeeping rules and also requested
that all mobile phones be put to silent or switched off.
Arnott, Jim O'Kane, Isabel Haddow, Anna Forrest and Margaret Thom.
minutes of the last ordinary meeting, held on Thursday 14th November
were approved and proposed by Joyce McNae and seconded by Brian D
Henderson. There were no amendments or matters arising.
Cairns said that " the dreadful events of the 29th November at the
Clutha Vaults where 10 lives were lost in such random, shocking and
tragic circumstances have left us reeling. I, and I am sure many others
are still in a state of disbelief.
thought and sympathies go out to everyone affected by the horror, and,
I'd like to propose we have a minutes silence to show our sorrow and
take a long time for the city to rise above the tragedy. Glasgow has
faced many disasters in the past with reverence and honour, and, this,
I'm sure will be no different".
Clutha Vaults minutes silence.
Cairns said that on another sad note, Mr David Sanderson, a member of
the club, passed away on 25th November. Our condolences go out to his
Cairns said that she would like to thank Jill Scott and Bill Hicks for
their talk last month on the Grand Central Hotel which was very good,
and, very well received. It was given in an unusual format which worked
well. Ms Cairns said that she would definitely look out for their Sunday
Cairns told us that on the 23rd of November she had popped along to the
launch of Govan's Hidden Histories. The weekend was highlighting 4 new
heritage walks in and around the Riverside Museum and Govan. The walks
are themed on Shipbuilding, Quest for 13 Treasures of Govan,
Entertaining Govan and Characters of Govan.
Cairns went on 13 Treasures of Govan, which took the form of a guided
treasure hunt. It started at Riverside, taking in the riverside at
Partick, a ferry over to Govan, Water Row, Govan Old, Fairfields, then
finishing at Elder Park. The walk would be good for both children and
evening there was a talk by author Tim Clarkson on the Dark Age /
Medieval History of Dumbarton Rock, Govan Old and Doomster Hill. This
was followed by the artist Matt Baker who has several sculptures along
Harland Way, using material from the old yards. And, finally, Liam
Paterson from National Libraries Scotland who showed some films from the
Scottish Screen Archive of Govan Fair in 1947 and 1952.
Cairns said that congratulations were in order to the South Rotunda,
selected to host a 'pop up' arts event by the Tin Forest puppet group
during the Commonwealth Games. Ms Cairns said that perhaps this will be
enough to attract some serious attention to the property and wouldn't it
be good if access to the pedestrian tunnel was opened up in some way.
Cairns also congratulated Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust who has secured
of funding from the Big Lottery Fund as part of a 4 year Investing in
McNae apologised for the mix up regarding the meeting date printed on
the Club Membership Card. She said that the ordinary meeting is always
the second Thursday in the month.
McNae reminded members that in the event of adverse weather on the day
of an ordinary meeting that members should phone Adelaides on 0141 248
4970 or, alternatively check for a post on the Old Glasgow Club website
and Facebook page.
McNae reminded members that Old Glasgow Club had a page on Facebook that
is updated by Ms Cairns most days with interesting photographs and
archive stories about Glasgow. Mrs McNae said that the page now has 15
members and that if anyone was on Facebook but hadn't seen it to take a
McNae asked if members had visited the club merchandise at the back of
the hall for the Glasgow Calendars, for sale at
Also, that the new Old Glasgow Club logo pens were now available for
McNae also asked if members had bought their tickets for the Christmas
Raffle which would be drawn at the end of the evening.
McNae mentioned that there were lots of interesting exhibitions taking
place at Glasgow Museums over the Christmas period.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery - Jack Vettriano - A Retrospective. On until
23rd February 2014.
Museum of Religious Life and Art - Peter Howson's Crucifixion. On
display until 31st December 2013.
Palace - Red Road : Past, Present, Future. On until 10th February 2014.
Burrell Collection - Burrell's Masters of Impression. On until 5th
Information on current and upcoming exhibitions is available at
Cairns introduced Dr Paul Maloney who is the Research Fellow on the Arts
and Humanities Research Council funded project Pantomime in Scotland.
He has recently completed a PhD on the Britannia Music Hall and the
development of urban popular entertainments. Dr Maloney is going to give
a talk on Scottish Pantomime.
Maloney thanked everyone for coming along to hear him talk about
Pantomime in Scotland. 'Your other national theatre' was a three year
research project undertaken at the School of Culture and Creative Arts
Department, Glasgow University. It started in October 2007 and was
funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and explores and
celebrates all aspects of pantomime in Scotland. Dr Maloney said that
his field is popular theatre, music hall and particularly pantomime. The
project looked at history, cultural and social influences in Scottish
national theatre of Scotland is pantomime" - actor/director Lewis Casson,
speaking in the 1920s.
Reformation theatre was frowned upon by the Church. The only type of
regular theatre around at this time was provided by fairground theatres
, they cost a penny and were more like singing comedy.
important influence on pantomime were the national drama/stage
dramatisations of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns. These were big
romantic stories with Scottish characters like Tam O'Shanter and lots of
tartan and Highland imagery. These plays had lots of comedy and comic
characters that spoke in vernacular Scots.
Pantomime ? "It is now the only example of the annual 'big theatre'
experience which appeals to all ages and generations. It's appeal lies
in it's familiarity - the ritual of going every year, often to the same
theatre as your parents, and seeing favourite performers, a well known
story, and all the familiar gags and routines. It feels like it should
be out of time, but in fact is vigorously contemporary in it's range".
pantomime is taking place in a small, subsidised theatre, then this is
perhaps the only time of year that they are filled to capacity.
Pantomime has a long theatrical history in Scotland dating back to
classical theatre, and is developed partly from the 16th century Comedia
dell'arte tradition of Italy ( a form of theatre characterised by masked
characters). Another important part of the pantomime, until the late
19th century was the harlequinade. Harlequinade is described as "that
part of a pantomime in which the harlequin and clown play the principal
parts". It was originally a slapstick variant of the Commedia dell'arte.
story of the Harlequinade revolves around a comic incident in the lives
of it's five main characters : Harlequin, who loves Columbine;
Columbine's greedy father Pantaloon, who tries to separate the lovers in
league with the mischievous Clown and the servant Pierrot, usually
involving chaotic chase scenes with a policeman.
day Pantomime for the most part still incorporates five main characters,
like Harlequinade did. There is the Panto Dame, normally the hero's
mother and traditionally a man in drag. Principal Boy, the main
character in the pantomime and traditionally a young, attractive woman
in 'male' attire. Co-principal Girl, normally the hero's love interest
and played by a girl. Comic lead, does the physical comedy and relates
to the audience. He often has a phrase that he repeats several times and
the audience call out the opposite in response. The Villain, the
pantomime baddy, often a wicked witch or wizard and is played by a man
or a woman.
Pantomime is normally based on a fairy story or a nursery rhyme. The
audience get really involved and it's about habit and comic routines
that are as old as the hills. It's fine that the formula repeats itself
year after year. It's traditional but it can also be topical and the
jokes will be current, you can bet on it that 'selfies' will be
incorporated in some way this year.
all a comparatively late development:
and Harlequinade is at the heart of a Victorian Pantomime along with
some Comeia dell'arte (Punch and Judy)
onwards and the Pantomime stories centre on more human stories, like
Jack and the Beanstalk and lasted longer and longer. 1912 and the
Harlequinade part of the Pantomime made up about 20mins of the story, it
was dying out.
it was estimated that around 60,000 people a week went to Panto and
another 25,000 went to the Circus etc.
1860s some of the Pantomimes became stories from Scottish history. These
pantomimes were satirical, tongue in cheek. There was Tam O'Shanter 'The
Mornin eftir' that premiered at the Opera House Kilmarnock. 'Mr Robert
Roy', a burlesque panto at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1880 (exactly
where Cowcaddens Station is now), essentially a send up of Rob Roy. He's
always avoiding the fight and is staying in to mind the bairns.
satirical pantomimes enjoyed huge success in their times. They were
distinctive in their style and distinctive in the way they were enjoyed
in Scotland. The impact of the Music Hall which was the popular theatre
form of the Industrial Revolution, enjoyed by the working classes and
legitimate theatre of the 1880s and 1890s, the Managers were jealous of
the success of the back room productions so they started employing
comedians for star rolls.
Lauder stars in the 1905 Aladdin at the Theatre Royal. He had several
songs in the show, the big hit being 'I Love a Lassie'. It was the most
impressive visual treat with ballets, gauzes depicting from the bottom
of the sea to above the clouds and then they come back and discover that
they are in Cowcadens. It was all about fantasy and at the end of each
scene the scene painter would come forward for audience adoration.
Music Hall influence did was bring in the interaction between the cast
and the audience that wasn't there before in serious theatre. Harry
Lauder set a fashion here for leading Scottish comedians, especially
with middle class people in serious theatre. Lauder was a new style of
star, his name was in electric lights across Hope Street.
Fred Collins introduced twice nightly productions at the Pavilion
Theatre with a production of Mother Goose that was set in Glasgow
inter war years of the 1930s and 40s were regarded as many as the great
days of Glasgow Pantomime. It was the period of long running pantos,
they ran from December until April and could have as many as 275
lists included such names as Dave Willis, Harry Gordon and Will Fyffe.
Harry Gordon was famous for his Dames, and his partnership with Will
Fyffe, as the male comic at the Alhambra Theatre is legendary. Harry
Gordon played at the Alhambra for 17 years.
West was the stalwart at the Princess's pantos (now Citizens) and did
Panto here for around 20 years, until the pantos stopped. The Princess's
pantos were really more like fantasy review than pantos, the titles of
which (like Tammie Twister) always contained 13 letters. Robert Macleod,
who was Music Director between 1913 and 45 and put their popularity down
to the fact that they ran for 4 hours and gave good value for money.
road at The Queen's Theatre, Glasgow Cross where Frank and Doris Droy
were the stars, there was a rather more risqué
show that combined traditional panto with modern day scenes in Glasgow.
They had housewives settling tradesmen bills with sexual favours. The
Queen's at times overstepped the mark and they got into trouble with The
Lord Chamberlin's Office in London where each script had to be sent to
for approval. They were fined
for their innuendo panto and for inappropriate content.
1960s the Alhambra made a departure from traditional titles when under
the management of Howard and Wyndham. The series of Jamie Pantomimes (A
Wish For Jamie, A Love for Jamie and The World of Jamie), were all
Scottish, tartan draped extravaganzas. "A Wish for Jamie opened at the
Alhambra on 9th December 1960 with Kenneth McKellar as Jamie, Rikki
Fulton as the Dame (with a gorgeous thistle dress), Reg Varney as Percy
the English farm-hand and Russell Hunter as the King of the Frogs. The
audience loved it, the house was packed night after night, a profit of
was made in 11 weeks, and the following year over 240,000 people saw the
end of the 60s theatre and panto were changing. As theatres like the
Alhambra closed and commercial theatre changed.
Theatre (formerly Princess's Theatre) came up with pantomimes that were
imaginative childrens plays. The Citizens Theatre is considered to be
one of the most avant garde theatres in Europe.
Spectacle and humour are still the key elements in modern day Pantomime.
It is still immensely popular and attract television actors such as
Elaine C Smith, Allan Stewart, Michelle McManus, The Krankies and John
Barrowman to star in them.
Maloney finishes his wonderful talk by showing us a piece of unique,
George West in a short movie of Tammie Shanter that played at The Royal
Princess's Theatre Glasgow, 1934-35.
story has nothing to do with Tam O'Shanter but has something to do with
a diamond !
Q Am I
correct in thinking that Jack Milroy made his debut at the Queens
that's correct. He made his debut there after WWII.
think the humour at the Citizens Theatre that you described as Scottish
humour, I would describe as Glasgow humour. Death, toilet humour.
I would agree, I call it gallows humour. Glasgow is the centre of
comedy, most of the comedians come from Glasgow.
talked about Scottish themes, tartan etc. The thistle always stands out
for me because one of the Jamie pantos was my first panto. I remember
Ricky Fulton coming out in a black negligee with a lit up bottom.
the more outrageous the costume the better. When Johhny Beattie took
over he wanted his costume to be a fish tea.
Sannachan thanked Dr Maloney for coming along and taking us on the
Pantomime journey at this seasonal time of year. Ms Sannachan said how
privileged we were to see such wonderful old photographs and film.
tickets were drawn by Dr Maloney.
Cairns gave us some preliminary dates for out diaries.
night in February would be 'A Day in the Calton', where members would be
able to view the digitised slides of The Calton.
outing, will be the second Saturday in June and is to Abbotsford, the
home of Sir Walter Scott.
details to follow in 2014.
Thursday 16th January 2014
Thursday 9th January 2014
Cairns wished everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a safe
Crozer, Recording Secretary