Old Athenaeum theatre pics

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Old Athenaeum theatre pics

Postby gap74 » Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:12 pm

Just to let y'all know, that nice man Nodrog has now put the gallery of pics from our visit to this peach of a building up on the Surviving Cinemas website. This hopefully marks an increase in our coverage of theatre buildings that haven't necessarily been used as cinemas at any point.

How many folk shopping on Buchanan St know that this narrow wee facade has a petite little A-listed Victorian theatre auditorium nestling away inside, I wonder??

We've been sitting on these pics for a while, but with a new Sold sign appearing on the facade, it seemed as good a time as any to finally unleash them, enjoy!

http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/~gbarr/cinema ... ldath.html

Gary
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Postby nodrog » Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:16 pm

Thats right, Gap74 and I got access to the building to take these pics several months ago, and had to sit on them for a while for political reasons, but we can now finally reveal them in all their glory...

The place is pretty run-down looking inside; evidence of quite a bit of water damage, especially backstage. The mountain of chairs dumped on one of the upper levels is really quite emotive.

It's a gorgeous building though, inside and out. It'd be such a shame if it got turned into yet another giant pub, which is what currently seems likely....

Image Image Image Image

http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/~gbarr/cinema ... ldath.html
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Postby Pgcc93 » Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:29 pm

That place is remarkable both inside and out. Fecking good pics as well. Turning this place into a pub is so wrong!

Good work fellas 8)
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Postby DickyHart » Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:39 pm

still looks in not bad nick considering its lay empty for ages, got a lot of good memories here, did a few amatuer shows there in my younger days, nothing better than trying remember your lines with a subway train rocking the place. heehee
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Postby mrlipring » Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:55 pm

Pgcc93 wrote:That place is remarkable both inside and out. Fecking good pics as well. Turning this place into a pub is so wrong!


And then when it isn't making enough cash...
"You just keep pumping away until someone suitably qualified tells you to stop."
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Postby DMcNay » Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:57 pm

http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/~gbarr/cinemas/glasgow/oldath/Pages/11.html

See that white patch on the decorative curving bit (no idea what it's called)?

Phil Kay did that. Nearly put his foot right through the plasterwork.

Can't believe how different the Old Ath looks. Although strangely it looks a lot brighter than I remember. And the stalls look a million times bigger without any seats.

http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/~gbarr/cinemas/glasgow/oldath/Pages/59.html Those seats. Uncomfortable as fuck after aboutr twenty minutes.

Oh, and here: http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/~gbarr/cinemas/glasgow/oldath/Pages/66.htmlis where I totally failed to realise that Rowena Hutton was flirting with me and wanted to get off with me on the last night of the Summer Festival. The ginger temptress...
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Postby thecatsmother » Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:23 am

Wonderful pics, guys. Thanks for sharing. I was only in there once to see an adaptation of a Margaret Thomson Davis novel, and I always meant to go back, but left it too late. Very sad if they turn it into a pub.
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Postby caine » Thu Jun 16, 2005 7:50 am

wow!!! that brings back memories of my days in the SYT!!! cheers for the pictures.

it would make a wonderful small gig venue that place, if only someone one would restore its original features.
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Postby nodrog » Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:06 am

It is brighter inside than you might remember it, because when Haagen Daz started work to convert it into an ice-cream shop a few years back - (despite not having got planning permission!) they have stripped out the back wall separating the rear balcony from the bar; so there's a lot more natural light in the auditorium than there would have been.

The stalls will also seem larger than you might remember, as there was a wooden partition at the back, which was lying discarded on the floor when we were there.

The irony is that the large empty upper floors could be easily converted into housing or a bar or something, and the money from that used to restore the theatre to active use. Why can't developers think imaginatively?

Think what a nice venue this would make for the Glasgow Comedy Festival, for example...
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Postby JayKay » Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:21 am

I saw the Tindersticks play there about ten years ago, and it was one of the best gigs I've seen. Perfect venue for a band like that.

Would be ideal for jazz gigs too as well as comedy. Nice and intimate but atmoshperic too. If I had a pot of money...

As an aside, I also recall finding a beetle in my drink which kind of put me off going for another :?
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Postby nodrog » Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:20 pm

Just to follow up on what I posted above; here's a rough section through the building (and you didn't get this from me, ok? ;) ) showing how much space there is above the auditorium levels:

Image
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Postby Closet Classicist » Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:26 pm

Thank you so much for posting the links and photographs Gap74 and nodrog. Much appreciated. The Athenaeum is one of my favorite Glasgow buildings and is one of Sir JJ Burnet's early masterpieces. I think it is also one of the earliest buildings to incorporate a lift anywhere so its sad to hear the lift car has been stripped out. Great shame actually as part of the meaning Burnet expressed in this building is all to do with how do you deal with a lift (which was a radical new piece of technology at the time)! Its all humourously expressed on the external elevation.

Basically the lift and stair tower is clearly denoted as a distinct part of the composition and given a stridently vertical emphasis. Burnet then breaks through this with an aedicule which is kind of suspended two thirds of the way up the elevation. This is meant to be a metaphor for the lift. Burnet then caps this elevation with a lead clad tower of winds with greek goddesses ethereally floating around it. I think thats pretty witty and kind of strikes the right theatrical note!

Anyway its fantastic to see shots of the interior and the theatre in particular makes you realise just how brilliant Burnet was. That dome is so inventive and so daringly shallow. Its got a real dynamism to it. Kind of reminds me of Sir John Soanes work. The capitals to the columns are also very witty with their lyre motif. As original in their own way as Greek Thomson's capitals in the St Vincent Street church are. Which kind of makes it all the more frustrating that this building is lying unloved and unused. In the week where the Scottish Youth Theatre have moved into their new base in the former sheriff courts it does make you ponder why the original developer who bought the building off the RSAMD kicked them out in the first place. It seems bizzare that a theatre group can be without a base for so long and yet their former home just sits there slowly crumbling while a developer tries to make it work as a retail unit?!

Cheers

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Postby james73 » Fri Jun 17, 2005 1:53 am

JayKay wrote:I saw the Tindersticks play there about ten years ago, and it was one of the best gigs I've seen. Perfect venue for a band like that.

Would be ideal for jazz gigs too as well as comedy. Nice and intimate but atmoshperic too. If I had a pot of money...

As an aside, I also recall finding a beetle in my drink which kind of put me off going for another :?

Was it John, Paul, George or Ringo?

::):



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Postby HollowHorn » Fri Jun 17, 2005 9:04 am

Those are incredible photographs, they take me back some 30 years or so. The students from the RSAMD put on their end of term Play in the Athenaeum. My dim memory states that it was either Macbeth or King Lear. I can't recall much of the evening, I remember where I was sitting in the Circle and I also have a hazy memory of the performance. Looking at the pics, it astounds me that so little has changed in the intervening years. Thanks for the memory. 8)
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Postby PlasticDel » Fri Jun 17, 2005 4:11 pm

Doc Lightning wrote:http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/~gbarr/cinemas/glasgow/oldath/Pages/59.html Those seats. Uncomfortable as fuck after aboutr twenty minutes.


I would imagine people would be uncomfortable very quickly if they were packed into the theatre like that!!! Musta been up in the nose-bleeds! PILE ON!!!!!!!
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