Celtic on stage

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Ref: On stage plays & musicals with a Celtic football related theme or link
aka: Stageplays, Stage Plays, Theatre Plays, Musicals


Stage Plays and Theatre Performances

In recent decades a number of stage plays have been written and performed about Celtic or events in the club’s history.

THE CELTIC STORYThe Celtic Story by Wildcat

In its Centenary season the club commissioned leading Scottish theatre company “Wildcat” to create and perform ‘The Celtic Story’ which ran at the Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow from 30 April 1988 to 25 June 1988. The play proved a huge success and was revived with a further run some years later.

In the original run actors included Dorothy Paul and Peter Mullan.

On the poster & program the team photo is actually a mock-up. The first team at the time all dressed up in 1880’s period team-kit and posed for a team photo.Wildcat promotion 1988


Jock Stein Play

The Jock Stein Story, commissioned by Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, dir. John Murtagh 1997 Written by big Celtic fan Raymond Ross

Big Inverdarroch from Take the High Road played Jock’s role.

Celtic on stage - The Celtic Wiki

THE LIONS OF LISBON

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Celtic’s European Cup success, Willy Maley and Ian Auld (brother of Bertie) wrote a play about the Lisbon experience from the perspective of the fans. It was produced by the Penny Mob Theatre Co. and ran at the Tron Theatre and other venues in Glasgow and beyond in 1992.

From the Glasgow Herald, 19 Dec 1991:
“The show, The Lions of Lisbon, is the result of a meeting between playwright Willy Maley and actor and songwriter Ian Auld, brother of Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld. Maley was working as writer-in-residence at Milton library during 1990 when the two fell to discussing Wildcat’s Celtic Story. Perceiving a drama in the tale of the Celts travelling support to that European Cup triumph, timed to coincide with its silver anniversary (and let’s face it, they could do with being reminded of it at Parkhead these days), the co-authors are putting the finishing touches to the script. The plan is that the play will have a rehearsed reading in the Jock Stein lounge at Paradise before opening in Royston, with entry priced at a mere 1p. It will then go on to a community tour before its dates during May. An Edinburgh Festival Fringe run is planned after that.”

ON OUR WAY TO LISBONOn Our Way to Lisbon, the play

This two-man stage play written by Patrick Prior and brought to the stage by the Iscosceles Theatre Company ran at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow in 2002 and more recently at the King’s Theatre in 2008. The same two actors – Pat Abernethy and Dave Marsden – appeared on both runs.

The play was reviewed by Not the View fanzine here. On Our Way to Lisbon - programme cover

SINGIN’ I’M NO A BILLY HE’S A TIM

Singin I'm No A Billy
Written by Coatbridge-born playwright and author Des Dillon, ‘Singin’ I’m No A Billy…’ is billed as an exploration of bigotry and ethnic identity. It focuses on events when a Celtic supporter and a Rangers fan are locked up together in a cell on the day of a big derby game.

Des Dillion has previously contributed to the Celtic Minded series of books.

Review of Singin’ I’m No a Billy He’s a Tim from the Guardian Newspaper
Citizens, Glasgow
3 out of 5 Mark Fisher
The Guardian, Tuesday 9 June 2009

Ever since Hector McMillan’s The Sash in 1974, there has been a popular market in Scotland for broad comedies on a sectarian theme. And one look at the audience crowding into the Citizens tells you Des Dillon’s Singin’ I’m No a Billy He’s a Tim is reaching the parts that other theatre can’t reach. Produced by the unfunded NLP company, with an uninspiring, low-budget set, it has enjoyed a second sell-out tour of Scotland, with dates lined up in Northern Ireland later in the year. All this while passing under the theatre establishment radar.

You couldn’t call it sophisticated, but the production is good fun. Dillon’s key gag is to throw two football fans from either side of Glasgow’s sectarian divide – Catholic Celtic, Protestant Rangers – into a police cell on the day of an Old Firm match. Tim and Billy (nobody said this was subtle) have to negotiate a path between their desire to see the game and their inbred hatred of each other. In the process, they realise the foolishness of their bigotry.

The trajectory is predictable; the skill lies in Dillon’s careful balance between recognising, even celebrating the tribal affiliations of both sides and pointing out that the kind of songs that glory in being “up to our knees in Fenian blood” would be intolerable in any other cultural setting. His raucous sense of humour and keen understanding of the west-coast sectarian mindset make his sisters-under-the-skin message seem a matter of urgency and not just a liberal platitude.

In this, he is aided by the tremendous performances of Scott Kyle (Billy) and Colin Little (Tim), who have a perfect feel for the machismo of the terraces, the stakes involved in the peace process and the no-nonsense comedy of Dillon’s script.

The Prince – The Johnny Thomson StoryThomson, John (1926-31)

(2011)

By: Newsroom Staff on 17 Aug, 2011 09:47

THE 80th Anniversary of the death of John Thomson is almost upon us and the occasion will be marked on the stage of the King’s Theatre by a timely re-telling of his life story.

It will be produced in conjunction with the Ambassador Theatre Group and will open on September 5, 2011, significantly marking the 80th Anniversary of the Celtic legend’s passing, and run until September 10.

The original production tells the life story of the legendary keeper, who stood guard between the sticks for Celtic for just over four seasons.

But with his career ending prematurely at the age of 22, shining star, Johnny, died after a collision on the field of play in 1931, with so much still to offer both on and off the pitch.

Co-writers Brian McGeachan and Gerry McDade wanted to capture this by delving into Johnny’s world before the tragedy and have done so by setting the play against the backdrops of his native Fife, and Glasgow, in the late 1920s.

The writers have delivered an entertaining, sad, but also uplifting production.

Gerry McDade said: “I wanted to look at it and ask, what was he like as a person? What was it like for him when he moved here from Fife?

“He was a young man in Glasgow and he was fitting in with legends like Jimmy McGrory, so you have to take a step back and decide not to look at it from the perspective of his death, but from the life he had before that.

“That’s why we talk about celebrating the legend but commemorating the hero at the same time. You have to have that double edge to it and step into his boots.”

While on the pitch John made over 200 appearances for Celtic, won two Scottish Cup medals and was the Scottish internationalist keeper.

Off the field, he was a wonderful character and Gerry wanted to share the keeper’s happy memories and funny stories in order to give the audience a feel for who he was personally.

Gerry added: “We’re using a couple of contemporary Celtic supporters to set up the story and narrate the play.

“We are looking at certain incidents in his life, for instance, he was a phenomenal sportsman.

“There’s a story about them going to the swimming baths one day and Johnny, who had never dived in his life, pulled out a dive that an Olympic swimmer would have been proud of.

“You can see the humour in that so there’s that element that we want to bring to it too.

“The story is a tragedy and that brings its own dimension to it, but the trick is to get an entertaining story out of it as well.”

TICKET INFO
Showtimes:
Monday, September 5 – Saturday, September 10: 7.30pm
Wednesday & Saturday Matinee: 2.30pm

Ticket prices are £12 – £26 and available from the following outlets:

Telephone Sales: 0844 871 7648 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0844 871 7648 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (Booking fee applies)

Groups & Schools: 0844 871 7602 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0844 871 7602 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

To buy online, go to www.atgtickets.com/glasgow
Thomson, John (1926-31) - Pic

Celtic – The Musical
in Glasgow, Dublin and Derry

2016

WORLD PREMIERE

Celtic – The Musical

“Because we only know that there’s going to be a show and the Glasgow Celtic will be there!”Celtic – The Musical is a brand new stage show that has been created by Alterean Media with the official backing and support of Celtic Football Club.The story of the proud history of Celtic Football Club unfolds through the eyes of two families, united by their shared passion.Featuring the songs that have rung round Celtic Park over the years Celtic – The Musical tells the amazing story of this legendary club and the greatest fans in the world. It takes audiences on an emotion-charged journeyfrom the foundation of the football club by Brother Walfrid and its charitable origins onward through Willie Maley’s legendary successes as manager and the scoring feats of Jimmy McGrory. The wing wizardry of Jimmy Johnstone to the triumphs of the immortal Jock Stein and the lasting legacy left by icons such as Billy McNeill, Tommy Burns and Henrik Larsson.This is the story of a world famous sporting institution, a people’s club, truly a club like no other – a musical history of Celtic Football Club.

By: Newsroom Staff on 03 Sep, 2016 16:41(2016)

  • A brand new stage show, Celtic – The Musical has been created by Alterean Media with the official backing and support of Celtic Football Club.Featuring the songs that have rung around Celtic Park over the years, the show tells the amazing story of this legendary club.It takes audiences on an emotion-charged journey from the foundation of the football club byBrother Walfrid, Willie Maley’s legendary successes as manager and the scoring feats of Jimmy McGrory.From the wing wizardry of Jimmy Johnstone to the triumphs of the immortal Jock Stein and the lasting legacy left by icons such as Billy McNeill, Tommy Burns and Henrik Larsson.The show will premiere at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre where it will run from 7th-17th September. It will then move to The Gaiety Theatre in Dublin (20th-24th September) before ending the first run at Derry’s Millennium Forum (27th September – 1st October).Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell said: “Celtic is a club like no other, with the richest history and tradition and a wonderful story which deserves to be told in this way.“The musical will be a celebration of Celtic, one of the world’s true great football clubs and will take the audience on a fantastic journey through almost 130 years of history. We are sure this production will be extremely popular with all our supporters.”Alterean Media previously enjoyed successes with the hit stage plays The Official History of Liverpool FC and One Night in Istanbul.Writer, Nicky Allt said: “Celtic’s story is one about people, about immigration, and about a football club born of purpose.“Growing up in Liverpool my family was always aware of Brother Walfrid, Celtic and its charitable foundations. Since then it has always been a story that resonated with me, fascinated me, and a story I always wanted to tell.”

    [Untitled]


Bend it like Auld

Started: 2021

Denise Mullen is divorced, mother to two teenagers, cares for her elderly father and has an extremely stressful job. The only thing that is keeping Denise sane is her beloved Celtic. They are stockpiling trophies and Denise knows just how it feels to be Celtic!

Denise is hoping her Celtic can continue their trophy haul…enter Bertie Auld!

Danny Mullen is footloose and fancy free and looking forward to the New Year. The only thing that is getting Danny down is his beloved Celtic. Both Celtic and Danny have forgotten what a trophy looks like and Danny knows just how it feels to be Celtic!

Danny is hoping his Celtic can win a trophy, any bloody trophy…enter Bertie Auld!

Follow the antics of Denise and Danny in the new comedy play, “Bend it like Bertie” to see if Bertie can help make their wishes come true.

Play inspired by Celtic legend Bertie Auld could be Vegas-bound

By Euan Davidson
1 month ago

‘Bend It Like Bertie’, a stage play inspired by Lisbon Lion and Celtic legend Bertie Auld, has been approached for a Vegas booking.

According to the play’s star, comedian Des McLean, the play which debuted at Webster’s Theatre last night is already gaining significant traction.

‘Bend It Like Bertie’ centres around a divorced, stressed mother of two, who’s being kept sane by her support of Celtic Football Club [Websters]. Written by Jim Orr, it follows the success of a Harald Brattbakk themed stage play.

There’s already an annual convention in Vegas for Celtic supporters. The NAFCSC Convention is a yearly hit, but the addition of some drama and glamour can only boost attendance.

Des McLean said about the Vegas interest [Sun]:

“Even this early we have already been contacted to see if the show will go to Vegas. Bertie [Auld] was Mr Vegas and used to go to every Celtic supporters convention over there, so that’s really exciting.

“We’ve also had offers to take it to Ireland and Australia too, which is fantastic.

“And the show also ticks a really important box for me, allowing me to play one of my all time heroes. I once sat beside Bertie for ten hours flying back from a Celtic supporters convention in Vegas. He told me all the great stories first hand, so that made it extra special to be able to play him in this show.”
A celebration of Lisbon Legend Bertie Auld will surely go down a treat with Celtic supporters

Bertie Auld is still, and always will be, absolutely beloved by Celtic supporters. When news came of Auld’s dementia battle [Celtic FC], the outpouring of love from fans, former players and club figures spoke for itself.

So, the timing is great to show appreciation for the Lisbon Lion. And this seems a perfect way to do it.
It wouldn’t be the first Celtic-themed stage foray, anyway. Celtic The Musical was a smash-hit, with more showings booked for massive Glasgow venues next year.

It’s not hard to see why musicals and plays are such a hit with Celtic supporters. The history of songs and arts being intertwined with the club goes back generations.

Perhaps, that was never better epitomised than by Bertie himself. Ahead of kick-off against Inter Milan on that famous Lisbon day, Auld started singing ‘The Celtic Song’ to calm the Bhoys’ pre-match nerves [Independent].

As we know, it worked a treat.


The TOMMY BURNS Story by Davie Carswell

Started: 2021
link: https://www.thetommyburnsstory.co.uk/

A play which celebrates the life of the self-proclaimed “supporter who got lucky”. From growing up in the Calton, to playing for and managing the club he loved. The play covers the three items he cherished above all else.