The South Rotunda Opens Its Doors: come and join us…
Built in 1896 as a pioneering commuter tunnel running under the Clyde, the building has been derelict for 25 years – until now.
Yesterday evening, in the shadow of the Finnieston Crane, joined by a large crowd and a welcome visit from the sun, the South Rotunda opened its doors to the public once again. A two year old creative dream came to fruition as the people of Glasgow and the Commonwealth celebrated the opening of a cavernous art and performance space filled with their stories, dreams and wishes.
It was a cause for a celebration if there ever was one. Not only for the opening of the South Rotunda as we look ahead to a ten day festival of Tin Forest events, but a coming-together of all branches of the Tin Forest story so far. 100 performers from The Tin Forest Glasgow community events and the 200 young theatre makers from around the Commonwealth taking part in our International Theatre Festival and International Performing Company joined together to sing ‘Mother Glasgow.’
Graham McLaren and Peter Arnott presented ‘A Glasgow Scrapbook;’ a compilation of voices from Glasgow’s past.
The crowd brought their best bellow, the hairs on the back of their necks and a good ‘ol dance. The six piece house band brought songs, old and new, inspired by the people and the city of Glasgow whilst performers gave voice to the stories of the strange and obscure, the absurd and the angry. The voices of Govan women rent strikers, Jimmy Reid and Billy Connolly sung alongside the stories of John Maclean, The Bleacher Lassie O Kelvinhaugh and the tall tales of the Shipyards.
Robert Fullerton’s speech from earlier in the Tin Forest’s story was spoken by Gary Lewis. Originating from Govan, he talks about playing football in Pirie Park, getting a lift to school in a milk float, welding in the shipyards. Robert speaks highly of the thing that makes Govan and Glasgow great: the people. You can look back and listen to his beautifully crafted speech here.
The International Performing Company and the International Theatre Festival came together to perform a short piece of ensemble choreography from within the crowd. Their energy was infectious and the crowd erupted into a revelry of highland dancing, singing and a good ‘ol swing about your partner.’ There was even an encore; a definite request for another round of ‘I’m Looking for a Job.’ The whole audience jumped up and down, sung and united in the wonderful, theatrical world of the Tin Forest. Their own Tin Forest.
The Tin Forest has been a journey through communities around Glasgow, through the city and it’s people. We have collected tales, hopes, dreams and wishes; forever mindful of the past but hopeful for the future.
The South Rotunda will be a hub of creativity for the next 10 days.It’ll be a festival of stories and ideas and cultural exchange; a way to celebrate creativity and a way to celebrate Glasgow, as the city welcomes the world this summer.
Don’t miss out!
Photos by Johnny McLauchlan