Whether it is cutting edge drama, hearty laughs or a decent tippling hole, Glasgow and Edinburgh’s theatre and comedy scene has it covered, find Niki Boyle and Anna Millar
Ah, where to start. The lynchpin of the comedy scene in both Edinburgh and Glasgow is undoubtedly The Stand Comedy Club. There’s one branch in each city, with a programme of events all week, including breakfast, lunch and dinner shows. This opens up a bit more during the Edinburgh Fringe festival in August, and the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, which takes place between March and April, annually.
The theatre situation in each city is a bit more widespread. Edinburgh’s main theatre district is located just off Lothian Road; there, you’ll find the Traverse (which prides itself on New Scottish Writing) and the Lyceum (with a strong emphasis on classical adaptations); the Usher Hall sits between them, offering a great programme of classical performances, with some blues, folk, jazz and world music wild cards thrown in. The King’s Theatre up the street plays host to some mighty fine touring productions, while its sister venue, the Festival Theatre, is a striking glass-fronted building that welcomes touring comedians and international dance productions to its stage, as well as playing host to Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet when they come to town. From there, you can either head north to the Playhouse (big musicals, big comedians, big everything) or south to the Queen’s Hall (home to a wide range of music genres – rock, pop, folk, jazz and world gigs all take place here – as well as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra). Any self-respecting student should also know better than to miss out on a sneaky peek of Bedlam Theatre’s offerings, as well as those of Potterow, Pleasance Theatre and Teviot.
Glasgow’s theatre scene is slightly more diverse: as well as big classical venues, such as the Royal Concert Hall and Theatre Royal, the Tron, Tramway and Arches theatre spaces host contemporary, sometimes highly experimental productions; The Citz on the Southside is home to a great year round programme; and the Pavilion and Kings play host to popular fare such as musicals, psychic acts and, in the latter case, panto. In addition to all this, the Ramshorn Theatre is the dramatic wing of Strathclyde University, and the National Theatre of Scotland, while having no physical home, has its administrative offices in Glasgow, and can often be found debuting shows at various venues around town. The RSAMD also enjoy a year-round programme of events.
In terms of large scale events, it’s all too easy to bring the Edinburgh Fringe and International Festivals to mind; however, Glasgow is practically over-run with theatre festivals throughout the year, including Arches Live, Behaviour, Glasgay!, Surge, Mayfesto, Instal (and UnInstal), and The Merchant City and West End Festivals. Phew!
Bang for your Buck!
Almost all the theatres in Glasgow and Edinburgh offer some sort of student incentive, with student concessions available at the Traverse and the Tron. While The Royal Lyceum Theatre offers First Look Friday previews for just £5, on opening nights. Elsewhere, Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet both offer special £10 tickets for under 26s. All tickets should be booked in advance.