Britannia Panopticon
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The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall has reopened for General viewing for the 2024 Season.

We are open Thurs- Saturday 12noon - 5pm

Come in and discover the world's oldest surviving music hall.

Britannia Panopticon
Britannia Panopticon


Britannia Panopticon
Britannia Panopticon

Brittania Panopticonelcome to The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall website.

Situated on Glasgow’s historic Trongate, this music hall began life in 1857 at a time when Glasgow's population was booming, and its streets were overcrowded with working folk desperate to be entertained. Music Halls were a popular form of entertainment with the working classes during the Victorian and Edwardian era. At first, they were back rooms behind pubs, though this one is different, being on the floor above! It would have held over 1500 visitors, eager to be amused and let off steam while watching the acts that ranged from singers, dancers and comedians to acrobats, animal, and novelty acts. In 1906, an eccentric showman, A.E Pickard, added a carnival, freak show, wax works and zoo to the entertainments where visitors could catch a glimpse of the Himalayan Bear in the basement or the Tattooed Lady in the attic.

Britannia Panopticon Music Hall is operated by a registered charity, The Friends of the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Trust (SCIO). The aim of the charity is to promote and continue the legacy of the world’s oldest surviving music hall, advance its conservation, and ensure the building’s future as a viable visitor attraction, museum and working venue. It's a huge part of Glasgow's entertainment history and we rely a lot on our wonderful customers who leave donations. If you wish to contribute in any way, please click on the Support Us button in the bottom left-hand corner. We would love to have you onboard!

Britannia Panopticon is open to the public for shows and events including silent films, comedy club, Drag, Burlesque, variety, sing-a-longs and even a traditional old time music hall shows. Most of our shows and events are fundraisers for the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall. Please check our events page for the latest updates.

Please note that we do not at this time have disabled access and there are two flights of stairs up to the music hall. A part of our fundraising currently is to raise enough money to buy a stair-climber for wheelchairs, until such times as we can have a lift installed.

We also don’t have any heating, so make sure you wrap up warm if you’re visiting us during the colder months.

If you don’t have time to see a show, we do open for general viewing and for private visits. This gives visitors an opportunity to see inside the music hall where there is an exhibition of ephemera, a pianola to play, a bar, a merchandise stall (with postcards, bags, posters, mugs, tee-shirts, stickers etc) and of course our friendly staff and volunteers are always available to regale you with tales of the history of the world’s oldest surviving music hall, from the unique acts that graced our stage, to the boisterous crowds and the secret to how this building never burnt down like so many other music halls! In 2018, Historic Environment Scotland voted Britannia Panopticon Music Hall as the Best Heritage Tourism Experience in the West Coast as part of The Scottish Thistle Awards.

The entrance to the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall is on the New Wynd, a lane that runs from the Trongate to Osborne Street and is nestled between MacDonald’s the Bakers and Mrs Mitchell’s Sweet Shop on the Trongate.

If you are a subscribing supporter or member of the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall general admission is free of charge and you are eligible for discounts to most of our shows and events. If you are not a subscribing supporter or member and would like to become one, please click Support Us on the bottom left corner of your screen.

For any queries you can call us on 0141 553 0840 or email us at [email protected]


News Spring 2023

Britannia Panopticon

 The Glasgow International Comedy Festival has been back in Britannia Panopticon with the first full programme of events since 2019 and we are pleased to say that with social distancing no longer necessary we are back to being able to accommodate 100 people for all of our shows. Drag-Opticon is back, along with our monthly Comedy Club. Laurel and Hardy films return with the Sons of the Desert on the 5th April and on Thursday May 4th (May the 4th be with you) we will have our annual screening of the classic silent sci-fi, Metropolis, complete with live band and foley artists providing the sound effects. We are also pleased to announce our new monthly market Second-hand Rose’s Second-hand, Vintage and Handmade Sale, which is the third Saturday of every month from noon – 5pm. The Panopticon Team are also planning sing-along movies, family events and much more, so keep an eye on our What’s On page and social media for updates and if there is anything you would like to see us do, please drop us a line to [email protected].

Dragged Tae the Steamie goes on Tour

After last year’s sell out success of Dragged tae the Steamie, the steamie crew will be dragging themselves across Scotland on tour. Dragged Tae The Steamie is the official authorised Drag adaptation of The Steamie written by Tony Roper with Songs by Dave Anderson and with the characters portrayed by actors in drag. Sadly, Lucky Jim, who played Dolly in 2022, is unable to join the tour, but we are delighted to announce that Darren Brownlie who is known for, The James Gang, Dregs, Meet the Magoons, Being Victor and of course, River City, will be taking on the role. If you would like to be a sponsor or buy advertising space in the Dragged Tae the Steamie tour programme, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]

The songs in this touring production will be pre-recorded by Lisa Le Grove and Margaret Woods with Dorothy Paul.


We have some fantastic new merchandise now available in the Music Hall. Designed and made by Debbie McCall, they are a wonderful addition to our merchandise stall and a great way to support the ongoing work of the Friends of Britannia Panopticon Music Hall. The tee shirts will soon be available in various sizes and the tote bags are fantastic quality. If you wish to purchase online, please pop an email to [email protected]

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Springing Back into Life

Britannia Panopticon

At last, it seems that life is returning to normal, and it’s a good thing too as in February I celebrated 25 years since I started campaigning, fundraising and awareness raising for our beloved little music hall. It is no secret that it was love at first sight when I first managed to sneak a peek above a false ceiling (now long gone) to gaze into the balcony which was completely intact, though covered with pigeon poo. Since then, a lot has changed, the false ceiling is gone, the roof was repaired, the façade and west elevation restored, and the stage brought back into working condition. I felt that we were just starting to get somewhere, when suddenly Covid-19 happened, and we had to close the old music hall again. We have been closed for so long, I was worried we wouldn’t be able to afford to open again, and I can’t say that we are out of the woods yet. Visitor numbers are still low and attendance to our shows is not yet what it was pre-pandemic, so if you do have a pound to spare, please donate it to our Go-Fund-Me campaign.

But I am so pleased to announce that we are back open for shows and as a visitor attraction. It seems such a long time since we were able to open for our full program and we are excited to see our audiences slowly coming back in. We have just finished the Glasgow International Comedy Festival which included the return of Silent films with resident live band, Gladstone’s Bag, lead by our very own Chairman of the board, Lawrence Dunn. It was a glorious sunny day and many of our supporters left the sunshine to join us for Buster Keaton’s incredible classic “The General”. Lawrence and Gladstone’s Bag will return on May 4th with Fritz Lang’s immortal science fiction classic “Metropolis”. May the 4th be with you!

Laurel and Hardy fans returned last night for the first screening in two and a half years of Laurel and Hardy films. Laughter rang through the music hall as fans from four Tents* of the Sons of the Desert joined us and there were a few new faces in the audience too! And a member of the James Finlayson society. If you missed it, don’t worry, the “Sons” will be back in June with another hilarious collection of films from the two and only, Laurel and Hardy.
*The Sons of the Desert are the official Laurel and Hardy fan club, and each club is called a Tent.

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