The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall

The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall The World's Oldest Surviving Music Hall in the heart of Glasgow. To find out when we are open please see our website www.britanniapanopticon.org

The Friends of the Britannia Panopticon received charitable recognition in 1999 and has been established to assist the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall trust in its campaign to raise public awareness and ultimately restore this unique and valuable little auditorium.

The Friends of the Britannia Panopticon received charitable recognition in 1999 and has been established to assist the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall trust in its campaign to raise public awareness and ultimately restore this unique and valuable little auditorium.

Operating as usual

09/09/2021

In other news, Gabriel Featherstone interviewed Judith Bowers today for That's TV Scotland. It will be on at 6pm tonight. Good luck with your new career Gabriel. Thanks for the plug.
Gabriel is a regular on the stage at our monthly Comedy Club which will return on 29th October. Tickets £5 + booking fee.

I wonder what's going on in Britannia Panopticon? Any guesses? You can find out for yourself if you join us on the 18th ...
09/09/2021

I wonder what's going on in Britannia Panopticon?
Any guesses? You can find out for yourself if you join us on the 18th &19th September for #glasgowdoorsopendays Please book today through www.glasgowdoorsopendays.org.uk Please note that booking is essential.

I wonder what's going on in Britannia Panopticon?
Any guesses? You can find out for yourself if you join us on the 18th &19th September for #glasgowdoorsopendays Please book today through www.glasgowdoorsopendays.org.uk Please note that booking is essential.

06/09/2021

Panto returns to the Panopticon

Following the postponement of our 2020 Pantomine due to the Covid-19 pandemic The Friends of The Britannia Panmopticon Music Hall Trust ( SCIO) and The VESTA Girls are delighted to announce that Jack and The Beanstalk will return to The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall for Christmas 2021 from 11th December along with our adults only event Jack Off The Beanstalk on 16th December . The pantomime is once again produced by Scotlands Premier Theatrical Drag Troupe - The VESTA Girls and stars Sally Starshine and Auntie Effie who have appeared every year since we relaunched panto in 2016 alongside the family panto debut of Nomi Divine who previously played Cinderella in our Adults only version of Cinderella in 2019 although her ‘manager’ has appeared in each of our pantos since 2018 in some form or another . Jack and The Beanstalk will also see thereturn of Matt Jones who played the king and prince in Sleeping Beauty , this time as comic lead .

Fairy Divine ( Nomi Divine ) has recently graduated from fairy school and has been tasked with saving the village of Skint upon the Brew in the land of Panoptica from the evil giant Blunderbore and his nasty assistant Demon Moonshade ( Sally Starshine ) who have been terrorising the village . If only she had The Wand of Vesta which legend says will defeat a giant but it has been lost for many years so instead she must enlist the help of a boy who is strong and true - Jack Trott . Although that means having to deal with his mother Dame Euphemia Trott ( Auntie Effie) .

Can Fairy Divine save the village ? How Evil is Demon Moonshade ? Will The King let Jack marry Princess Jill ? and will Effie ever stop mentioning that she was named as one of Scotland’s finest panto dames in The Scotsman? Find out This Christmas at this Giant of a pantomime .

Saturday 11th / 18th Dec - 2pm and 7pm
Sunday 12th / 19th Dec - 2pm

Tickets : Child : £5 Adult : £10 Group rate : £8

Available from www.universe.com/panto21

ADULTS ONLY - Jack Off The Beanstalk

Thursday 16th Dec - 8pm

Tickets : £12

www.universe.com/jackoff21

20/08/2021
DON’T GET MAD GET EVERYTHING Following the postponement of DONT GET MAD GET EVERYTHING in March 2020 due to the Corona V...
17/08/2021

DON’T GET MAD GET EVERYTHING

Following the postponement of DONT GET MAD GET EVERYTHING in March 2020 due to the Corona Virus Pandemic. The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall and The VESTA girls are pleased to announce that the show will go ahead on Saturday 19th March 2022 as part of the 2022 Glasgow International Comedy Festival. ALL PREVIOUS TICKET HOLDERS SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED AN EMAIL TO ARRANGE TRANSFER OF TICKETS.
I
Tickets for the new date are on sale now at: https://www.universe.com/dontgetmad22

Priced at £12 early bird and £15 Standard

But as a special treat we are offering tickets for £10 using discount code YOUDONTOWNME
available until midnight on 30th September.

DONT GET MAD GET EVERYTHING is a hilarious drag parody of the classic 1996 film The First wives club presented by Scotland’s Premier Theatrical Drag Troupe - The VESTA Girls and written by James Smith.

Cast includes:

Sally Starshine as Annie
Auntie Effie as Brenda
Nomi Divine as Eloise

DON’T GET MAD GET EVERYTHING

Following the postponement of DONT GET MAD GET EVERYTHING in March 2020 due to the Corona Virus Pandemic. The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall and The VESTA girls are pleased to announce that the show will go ahead on Saturday 19th March 2022 as part of the 2022 Glasgow International Comedy Festival. ALL PREVIOUS TICKET HOLDERS SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED AN EMAIL TO ARRANGE TRANSFER OF TICKETS.
I
Tickets for the new date are on sale now at: https://www.universe.com/dontgetmad22

Priced at £12 early bird and £15 Standard

But as a special treat we are offering tickets for £10 using discount code YOUDONTOWNME
available until midnight on 30th September.

DONT GET MAD GET EVERYTHING is a hilarious drag parody of the classic 1996 film The First wives club presented by Scotland’s Premier Theatrical Drag Troupe - The VESTA Girls and written by James Smith.

Cast includes:

Sally Starshine as Annie
Auntie Effie as Brenda
Nomi Divine as Eloise

14/07/2021

While cleaning out the technical room at the Britannia Panopticon, I had a sudden urge to recite Albert and the Lion for your entertainment.

14/07/2021

PANOPTICON DINO DERBY -30th July 2021

As part of the fundraising for our IN THE PANOPTICON WE WANNA TRUSS CAMPAIGN we will be holding an online Dino Derby at 8pm on Friday 30th July ( like the pond race we ran but with dinosaurs 🦕)

Each Dinosaur is £5 and if your Dino wins you will recieve a cash prize - the more people who enter the higher the cash prize .

To purchase a dinosaur just send £5 ( or multiple therefore ) to :

PayPal.me/panopticonstage

Good Luck 🤞

Dino Derby - Friday 30th July Dinosaurs are only £5 each Available from PayPal.me/panopticonstage
28/06/2021

Dino Derby - Friday 30th July

Dinosaurs are only £5 each

Available from PayPal.me/panopticonstage

PANOPTICON DINO DERBY -30th July 2021

As part of the fundraising for our IN THE PANOPTICON WE WANNA TRUSS CAMPAIGN we will be holding an online Dino Derby at 8pm on Friday 30th July ( like the pond race we ran but with dinosaurs 🦕)

Each Dinosaur is £5 and if your Dino wins you will recieve a cash prize - the more people who enter the higher the cash prize .

To purchase a dinosaur just send £5 ( or multiple therefore ) to :

PayPal.me/panopticonstage

Good Luck 🤞

24/06/2021

PANOPTICON DINO DERBY -30th July 2021

As part of the fundraising for our IN THE PANOPTICON WE WANNA TRUSS CAMPAIGN we will be holding an online Dino Derby at 8pm on Friday 30th July ( like the pond race we ran but with dinosaurs 🦕)

Each Dinosaur is £5 and if your Dino wins you will recieve a cash prize - the more people who enter the higher the cash prize .

To purchase a dinosaur just send £5 ( or multiple therefore ) to :

PayPal.me/panopticonstage

Good Luck 🤞

16/06/2021

Happy Birthday Stan Laurel! Born this day 1890! Why not celebrate with a classic Laurel and Hardy Comedy! What's your favourite? 🎉🥳

PANOPTICON DINO DERBY -30th July 2021As part of the fundraising for our IN THE PANOPTICON WE WANNA TRUSS CAMPAIGN we wil...
13/06/2021

PANOPTICON DINO DERBY -30th July 2021

As part of the fundraising for our IN THE PANOPTICON WE WANNA TRUSS CAMPAIGN we will be holding an online Dino Derby at 8pm on Friday 30th July ( like the pond race we ran but with dinosaurs 🦕)

Each Dinosaur is £5 and if your Dino wins you will recieve a cash prize - the more people who enter the higher the cash prize .

To purchase a dinosaur just send £5 ( or multiple therefore ) to :

PayPal.me/panopticonstage

Good Luck 🤞

PANOPTICON DINO DERBY -30th July 2021

As part of the fundraising for our IN THE PANOPTICON WE WANNA TRUSS CAMPAIGN we will be holding an online Dino Derby at 8pm on Friday 30th July ( like the pond race we ran but with dinosaurs 🦕)

Each Dinosaur is £5 and if your Dino wins you will recieve a cash prize - the more people who enter the higher the cash prize .

To purchase a dinosaur just send £5 ( or multiple therefore ) to :

PayPal.me/panopticonstage

Good Luck 🤞

It's hard to believe it's now six years since we had our first show on the restored stage. Here are a couple of pics tak...
09/06/2021

It's hard to believe it's now six years since we had our first show on the restored stage. Here are a couple of pics taken by Brian Holt who operated the follow spot that night. What a great show. We hope we will be back soon.

02/06/2021

As our clear-out continues, we will be getting rid of our two person pink slankets (blankets with sleeves). We have about 30 to go, so if you want one, send us a message and we can organise collection. They are going free - but feel free to leave a donation.
You have until the 18th June.
Stay safe X

27/05/2021
My fave Gothic film from the 1980's. Warning - the clip does contain sexually explicit scenes. #worldgothday
22/05/2021
Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead - The Hunger

My fave Gothic film from the 1980's. Warning - the clip does contain sexually explicit scenes. #worldgothday

Brilliant opening titles, brilliant song.. Pete Murphy imparts an extra air of menace. Bowie parting the chicks thighs did it for me. I thought the rest o...

Celebrate World Goth Day! From literature, music, film and fashion, seek out your favourite Gothic treat or fact and sha...
22/05/2021

Celebrate World Goth Day! From literature, music, film and fashion, seek out your favourite Gothic treat or fact and share it with us here. This is one of our favourite facts.
Happy World Goth Day! #worldgothday

Celebrate World Goth Day! From literature, music, film and fashion, seek out your favourite Gothic treat or fact and share it with us here. This is one of our favourite facts.
Happy World Goth Day! #worldgothday

21/05/2021
21/05/2021

Today is World Day of Cultural Diversity. So here is a little ten-minute taster of some silent movies from around the world, with some fascinating facts. Enjoy! #worlddayofculturaldiversity

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD6xWS2vntk&t=2s

Join us right here on Facebook tomorrow to see a fascinating mini-doc featuring silent film clips from India, China, Jap...
18/05/2021

Join us right here on Facebook tomorrow to see a fascinating mini-doc featuring silent film clips from India, China, Japan and Mexico. #worlddayofculturaldiversity

Join us right here on Facebook tomorrow to see a fascinating mini-doc featuring silent film clips from India, China, Japan and Mexico. #worlddayofculturaldiversity

17/05/2021

A huge thank you to everyone who popped onto our page yesterday for #musichallvarietyday and thanks for helping us raise another £178 towards ensuring our survival through the restrictions. See you soon. Join us on Friday for International Diversity Day. We have a very special video prepared. Stay safe. ❤️

17/05/2021

Thank you to everyone that shared, liked, donated and joined us for National Music Hall Variety Day!
Coming soon: International Diversity Day Friday 21st May. Join us on Friday to enjoy a very special treat indeed.

Thank you for supporting us and we hope you enjoyed our #musichallvarietyday please follow us on Facebook (if you don’t ...
16/05/2021
Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye

Thank you for supporting us and we hope you enjoyed our #musichallvarietyday please follow us on Facebook (if you don’t already) and our sister, Panopticon Trust, who are working to raise the money to buy the building so she will be forever safe as a music hall for everyone to enjoy. We hope to see you soon when the world is safe again, until then, stay safe and it’s Goodbye from us and goodbye from them… https://youtu.be/wlVu7Y5m5JQ
You can find out more about Britannia Panopticon in Judith’s book “Glasgow’s Lost Theatre. The Story of the Britannia Music Hall” ISBN 978-1-78027-212-2

Goodbye!An excerpt from Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's classic short movie "A Perfect Day"This one is especially for all those who tell me they're done with ...

Music Hall was more than singers, dancers, novelty acts, pugilists, acrobats and comedians… It was also about current af...
16/05/2021
Carrie Nation

Music Hall was more than singers, dancers, novelty acts, pugilists, acrobats and comedians… It was also about current affairs and was frequently used as a platform for many of the issues of the day from worker’s rights to suffrage. One famous example was Temperance campaigner, Carrie Nation who “travelled across the herrin’ pond” to educate the Scots on the vile demon drink. Pickard brought her to the Britannia Panopticon in 1908. This is a short documentary about this incredible woman who’s battle cry was “Smash Ladies, Smash!” https://youtu.be/fGxPKehNWg8 #musichallvarietyday
You can find out more about Carrie’s visit to Britannia Panopticon in Judith’s book “Glasgow’s Lost Theatre. The Story of the Britannia Music Hall” ISBN 978-1-78027-212-2

( Used for Educational Purpose )Short Preview of Prohibition (miniseries) PBS Documentary, from ep1 "A Nation of Drunkards" Dir: Ken Burns / Lynn NovickProd...

Music Hall Great – Sir Harry Lauder, the first performer to receive a knighthood. He had the best knees in the business....
16/05/2021
Harry Lauder - Keep Right On Till the End of the Road / The Road to the Isles (1926)

Music Hall Great – Sir Harry Lauder, the first performer to receive a knighthood. He had the best knees in the business. Here is a clip of Sir Harry Lauder performing the Britannia Panopticon theme tune, Keep Right on to the End of the Road. And we will. https://youtu.be/xIeC6rYrepE #musichallvarietyday

Sir Harry Lauder wrote this song in honour of his son after his death in 1916 during the First World War. It was re-recorded a number of times, inlcuding thi...

Tony Roper chats to Judith Bowers about the importance of Variety and Music Hall. We apologise for the substandard sound...
16/05/2021
Tony Roper and Judith at the Panopticon

Tony Roper chats to Judith Bowers about the importance of Variety and Music Hall. We apologise for the substandard sound quality, it was recorded on the spur of the moment when we were setting up for one of our Variety nights (which also features in the video), that Tony was hosting (adorned in hot-water bottles). Ignore the plea for our heating fund, that has been postponed as all our fundraising is currently dedicated to something even more important, ensuring we can afford to reopen when it is safe to do so. So please, donate if you can. https://youtu.be/faJdXnjY5uQ #musichallvarietyday

Tony Roper made a guest appearance at the Panopticon for our 'Friday night at the Panopticon' show'. In this short video he explains to us and Judith why it...

Loie Fuller was the first ever performer to be caught on film. Her Serpentine Dance was also one of the first films show...
16/05/2021
Loie Fuller the "Serpentine" Dance Girl

Loie Fuller was the first ever performer to be caught on film. Her Serpentine Dance was also one of the first films shown in the Britannia Panopticon. https://youtu.be/s61KGyYZSRo #musichallvarietyday

Born Marie Louise Fuller in the Chicago suburb of Fullersburg, now Hinsdale, Illinois, Fuller began her theatrical career as a professional child actress and...

JACK BUCHANAN MEDLEY
16/05/2021
JACK BUCHANAN MEDLEY

JACK BUCHANAN MEDLEY

Dancing HoneymoonAnd Her Mother Came TooFancy Our MeetingWho?

Music Hall Great – Jack Buchanan – Jack made his debut in Britannia Panopticon in 1911. Here’s a medley of his some of h...
16/05/2021
JACK BUCHANAN MEDLEY

Music Hall Great – Jack Buchanan – Jack made his debut in Britannia Panopticon in 1911. Here’s a medley of his some of his most famous tunes. https://youtu.be/jd1UggUmqV8 #musichallvarietyday
You can find out more about Jack’s debut in Judith’s book “Glasgow’s Lost Theatre. The Story of the Britannia Music Hall” ISBN 978-1-78027-212-2

Dancing HoneymoonAnd Her Mother Came TooFancy Our MeetingWho?

Dramarama: Stan’s First Night (STV 1987) by Alex Norton. It was this docudrama that first brought the Britannia Panoptic...
16/05/2021
Stan's First Night (Stan Laurel)

Dramarama: Stan’s First Night (STV 1987) by Alex Norton. It was this docudrama that first brought the Britannia Panopticon to Judith’s attention and she is for every grateful to Alex for it. You might be surprised at who plays Mr Pickard. https://youtu.be/iC9Zd7BEqtY #musichallvarietyday
You can find out more about Stan’s debut and what happened next in Judith’s book “Glasgow’s Lost Theatre. The Story of the Britannia Music Hall” ISBN 978-1-78027-212-2

In 1987 STV (Scottish Television) produced this half-hour play by Alex Norton called Stan's First Night, about a sixteen-year-old Stan Jefferson's (Stan Laur...

4pm: Theatre Nemo presents: Music Hall Rendezvous featuring Harry Lauder. A wonderful animation set in the Britannia Pan...
16/05/2021
Music Hall Rendezvous featuring Harry Lauder

4pm: Theatre Nemo presents: Music Hall Rendezvous featuring Harry Lauder. A wonderful animation set in the Britannia Panopticon by Theatre Nemo, an arts charity that works to improve mental health. https://youtu.be/APkyO3Mgp7k Find out more about Theatre Nemo at www.nemoarts.com #musichallvarietyday

The music hall in question is the Britannia Panopticon, the oldest, surviving and used music hall in the world. The Community Animation Group researched the ...

16/05/2021
Music Hall Great – Sadly, very little film exists of the ladies of the Victorian music halls, but I hope you enjoy this ...
16/05/2021
Marie Lloyd Jr. - A Little Of What You Fancy Does You Good

Music Hall Great – Sadly, very little film exists of the ladies of the Victorian music halls, but I hope you enjoy this clip of Marie Lloyd Jnr performing one of her mother’s famous songs. https://youtu.be/DBFLrA14Wsc
You can find out more about the ladies in Britannia Panopticon in Judith’s book “Glasgow’s Lost Theatre. The Story of the Britannia Music Hall” ISBN 978-1-78027-212-2

From the film 'Variety Jubilee' (1943)

2pm: Music Hall Great - Dan Leno. He performed in the Britannia Panopticon in the 1860’s as a juvenile act; he was a Top...
16/05/2021
Dan Leno - Mrs. Kelly (1901)

2pm: Music Hall Great - Dan Leno. He performed in the Britannia Panopticon in the 1860’s as a juvenile act; he was a Top Boot Dancer. https://youtu.be/ms-J7g0blVA #musichallvarietyday
You can find out more about Dan Leno’s appearance in Judith’s book “Glasgow’s Lost Theatre. The Story of the Britannia Music Hall” ISBN 978-1-78027-212-2

The 'Mrs. Kelly' sketch was recorded in November 1901 with Leno dragged up, like many of his pantomime damesDan Leno (20 December 1860 -- 31 October 1904), b...

16/05/2021
The Panopticon Jokesters #musichallvarietyday

Laughter is a great medicine in these strange times of Covid-19, so join us in a celebration of Music Hall today! #musichallvarietyday with our little selection of pithy puns from the Panopticon Jokesters. Post your pun and add #musichallvarietyday or tell us which Joke made you laugh or groan the most. And don't forget to share the joy with all of your friends and family. Stay well and stay safe and we hope to see you soon.

Address

113-117 Trongate
Glasgow
G1 5HD

113-117 Trongate Glasgow G1 5HD Remember that entrance to most of our shows is via the New Wynd, the small lane between T.J.Hughes and Mitchell's Amusement Arcade. Nearest train stations are Argyle Street and High Street, but if you don't mind a 10 minute walk, Central Station & Queen Street Station are also conveniently close by. Buses: First Bus 62, 61 & 64 stop right outside Britannia Panopticon. Car parking is also available at the St. Enoch Centre, Kings Street, Glasshouse on Glassford Street and the NCP carpark on Albion Street. Subway - The nearest Subway station is St. Enoch. When you come out of the St Enoch Underground station onto Argyle Street, turn right and walk in a straight line towards Glasgow Cross. We are just beyond T.J.Hughes

General information

The Britannia Music Hall (The Panopticon) in Trongate, Glasgow, Scotland is the oldest surviving music hall in the world. Built in 1857 by Thomas Gildard and H. M. McFarlane, it has hosted some of the biggest names on the Music hall circuit. In 1906 Stan Laurel made his first stage appearance there on amateur night. In that same year A. E. Pickard bought the building and changed its name to the Panopticon. He also undertook some major works, installing a freak show, a roof top carnival and a waxworks. He also excavated the basement and installed an indoor zoo. The Panopticon was one of the first buildings in Glasgow become powered by electricity and one of the first cinemas in Scotland. It closed in 1938 when it was sold to a tailors and converted to a workshop. It is currently being conserved by a trust who regularly perform traditional shows in the auditorium. It is now protected as a category A listed building.

Telephone

01415530840

Products

Variety shows, silent films, drag shows, Laurel and Hardy film screenings, marts, function hire

Alerts

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Videos

Our Story

Britannia Panopticon began life in the late 1850s when Glasgow was bursting at the seams with humanity. Thousands of workers had flocked to the city to work in the mills, factories, foundries, shipyards and collieries. They lived in the worst conditions imaginable; single ends* housed one third of the population, lodging houses where they crammed eight to a bed were available for those who couldn’t afford a single end and if you couldn’t afford a sliver of bed space then the penny line** was a slightly better option than the poorhouses and workhouses.

The social and working conditions of the workers of this industrial empire were not so much intangible as unimaginable to us today; men, women and children toiled in the most atrocious and dangerous conditions, the stench of the sewers, the thick smoke that belched from the factories and mills and made the air thick and foul to breathe, the lack of indoor and outdoor plumbing etc. would be insufferable to our modern and delicate dispositions – only the strongest survived.

The audience of the Britannia Music Hall (as it was originally known) comprised 1500 of these people, who would cram into the small auditorium four times a day, squeezing up cheek to cheek (so to speak) on the rough wooden benches that served as seating for those who could afford it. Those who couldn’t got to stand at the sides and back of the hall. Where-ever they sat and whoever they were, they all came for the same reason, to be entertained, blow off steam, have a laugh (usually at the expense of the act on stage if they weren’t up to muster) and escape from their difficult lives. But this was an audience that had for generations cut its teeth on the barbarous practice of public punishments and executions, which in Glasgow had been the only form of legitimate entertainment from the 1550s to the 1750s. Consequently the Glasgow audience evolved over the generations into a merciless mob who literally left no turn un-stoned. In Britannia Music Hall the turns (acts) could find themselves pelted with Shipyard rivets, nails, rancid turnips and horse manure, whilst urine might rain down on them from the balcony. However, if the turn appealed to the Britannia’s audience, they would be rewarded with thunderous applause and foot-stamping instead.

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Comments

This is the story of music hall star Mark Sheridan -most well known for popularising 'I do like to be beside the seaside -and how he came to be buried in Glasgow.
Pleasantly surprised to hear the Panopticon getting a wee namecheck on BBC Doctors today. 🥰🥰
Did anyone else notice Paul Merton's t-shirt on Have I Got News For You this week? https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000pzgr/have-i-got-news-for-you-series-60-episode-9
They used to be held indoors!
Facebook just suggested I friend Jonathan Ducarr😢, which is ever so sad. Is anyone managing his online accounts?
wonderful
My latest inspiration 🌹
Can you please confirm that Stan and Ollie is still being shown on Wednesday? Thanks
Kirstie Gavin Nicol this page
Is there anyone here that recognises a song with the lyrics (or title) 'We rock away on the billows gay'? It's possibly a music hall or old drinking song.
are u showing rupaul uk tomorow night how much get in ###