As fast as Glasgow burned its theatres to the ground
it built them back again – we couldn’t do
without our plays and tunes, we need a dance
and song to keep us going. This gaff’s given us
the lot: couthie comics, rude rhymes, romance,
camp and catchphrase, flicks (with music), Ali Baba’s
thieves, diverse monsters (Mary Shelley’s, Columba’s),
wafting Rhine Maidens, our very own Marie Loftus,
a masked ball, a harlequinade, a circus,
Dan Leno’s Orlando Dando, Henry Irving,
and Sarah Bernhardt for one matinée only –
not to mention the sensational telly
(One O’Clock Gang still daft in the memory).
Whatever walls come down, go up, go round,
this magic box holds all, swirling, birling
in the waiting darkness the works shine through.
About this poem
This poem was commissioned as part of a series to celebrate the refurbishment and re-opening of Glasgow’s Theatre Royal in 2015.