Britannia Panopticon
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The Friends of Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Trust (SCIO)

Scottish Charity Number SC029031

[email protected]

The Friends of the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Trust was founded by Judith Bowers in 1999 to support the work of the Britannia Panopticon Trust (now the Panopticon Trust) a building preservation trust which was established to deal with the Capital Project. The Friend’s trust is the main fundraising and awareness raising charity and it operates the building as a working music hall. The Friends is a self-funding charity, and the trustees are all very much involved with the operation of the building. Our fundraising comes through ticket sales, donations, merchandise sales, bar sales and subscriptions from the public who can join the Friends as a Supporter from £20 per annum, or as a Member from £21 per annum. Supporters and Members both have the same benefits e.g., discounted ticket sales and merchandise in the auditorium (this does not include our merchandise on RedBubble), but Members also have a voting right and are expected to attend our Annual General Meetings. Please click on Support Us to find out more and join online today.

Meet the Trustees

Lawrence Dunn (Chairman)

Lawrence Dunn has been associated with the Panopticon since 2006. He is a musician and does regular silent film shows with live music at the Panopticon and elsewhere, as well as performing on stage. He also works as a volunteer a couple of times a week. He is an interface between the Board of Trustees and the volunteers. His initial training was in Mathematics and worked as a programmer/analyst for the Bank of Scotland before becoming a violin and guitar teacher.

Gary Graham

Gary is our new Treasurer and has been a regular customer to our shows for several years. Last year Gary joined our regular volunteer team helping at most of our evening events and has become a valuable part of our volunteer family. He is the ideal candidate as treasurer with a background in financial services, particularly anti money laundering (AML). He is currently the AML Team Manager for Tesco Bank. In addition, Gary is an excellent performer and has an HNC in Media Studies.

Veronica Low

Veronica is a long-time supporter of the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall and is the Commercial Manager with the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS). In this role she provides essential marketing support for the RIAS member architects and manages the RIAS Sustainability Working Group.

In her spare time, she has raised capital, core, and project funds for various initiatives, and developed products, business plans and marketing strategies for other organisations. Veronica wants to bring her skills to the operation of the music hall and help us to improve our marketing and strategy.

Tom Kelly

Tom, from Glasgow, became a member of the Friends' Board of Trustees in 2021, following early retirement from the BBC World Service.

Tom’s 35-year career in Human Resources Management brings valuable knowledge and skills to the Trustees in supporting the management of the charity.

Tom can also be found helping out during Britannia Music Hall events and shows. Over the years, Tom regularly appeared on amateur Radio, Film and Stage in London, York and Glasgow.

Nick Barret

Nick Barrett has previously been Secretary and Chairman of the SCIO. He spent his entire working life in broadcast television but takes a huge interest in all aspects of the entertainment world and has a continuing passion is for music hall. Besides amassing a huge collection of theatre related material, he often gives talks on the subject to many different bodies.

Graham Hunter

Graham Hunter is a Freelance Costume Designer and has been involved in various capacities as a volunteer with the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall for over 20 years. He has been part of the Music Hall Variety Company as Master of Ceremonies as well as being involved with various costume exhibitions within the building for Doors Open Day.

If you wish to become more involved and join the board of trustees, please email [email protected]

Meet our Patrons

Tony Roper

Tony is a well-known and beloved Scottish actor and writer who is perhaps best known for writing and performing in BAFTA award winning The Steamie. But he has a long list of credits that include The Wicker Man (he was the postman), Scotch and Wry, Naked Video, and of course his famous role as Jamesie Cotter, Rab C Nesbitt’s best pal and partner in crime.

Tony was one of our first celebrity supporters and has done so much to help including performing as the Reverend I.M. Jolly at a fundraiser in Oranmor (in the original chair used by Ricki Fulton), hosting variety shows for us and featuring in the very first show on the original stage since 1938 after it’s restoration in 2015. Tony has also very kindly gave us permission to produce a drag version of his fantastic and iconic play, The Steamie.

“My association with The Panopticon goes back many years to before it’s rebirth under the irrepressible Judith Bowers. It is a gift to the people of Glasgow to remind them of how their great great grand parents enjoyed entertainment in all its forms and will hopefully go on doing so for many years in the future.

A jewel in a city of gems” TonyRoper

The Krankies

Well, I don’t really have to say much about our relationship with Janette and Ian Tough (AKA The Krankies) as Ian says it all!

When I First Heard About a Hidden Music Hall

By Ian (Krankie) Tough In 1969/70 I had just got married to Janette and was in Queenzieburn discussing Glasgow theatres with her dad, Bill Anderson. We talked about The Kings, The Alhambra, The Empire, The Pavilion, The Metropole, The Theatre Royal, The Queens, and Bill suddenly said The Britannia Panopticon. I said I’d never heard of it. He told me that it was on the Trongate end of Argyle Street and that he had seen Dracula there when he was a boy (he was born in 1912).

It was not until we were at the SECC in Pantomime that I had the pleasure of meeting Judith. Her husband, Finlay, was wardrobe master and Judith was a regular backstage visitor (who became Janette’s dresser a couple of pantomimes later) and we got on like a house on fire as Judith and I had the same deep interest in theatre history, so when I found out what she was involved in I was totally fascinated. We visited the Panopticon on our day off and I was stunned that this great piece of theatre history was left with no grant from Creative Scotland or even worse in my mind, from Glasgow City Council let alone the Scottish Governments Cultural Fund. To think that names like Little Titch, Stan Laurel (his first ever stage appearance), Marie Lloyd, Dan Leno, and many more other great music hall stars from all over the UK had trod these boards is wonderful, so we must do our utmost to ensure the survival of this great old variety theatre.

After the stage was restored in 2015, we were amongst the first acts to perform on in it since 1938 and it gave us a great feeling of pride to think of all the stars from the past that had stood on the same stage years ago. We have played the City Variety Theatre, Leeds, many times, and I always feel why can’t Glasgow have a theatre like this? A proper music hall, and we have one, just one that needs help to get back to what it was when Janette’s dad was a boy sitting in the gods terrified by Dracula.


Libby MacArthur

Libby is perhaps best known for her role as Gina Rossi in the popular BBC Scotland drama series River City. However, during her career, she has been cast in most of the well-known Scottish Televisions ‘home spun’ programmes.

In her time, she has had more than one Session with John Peel. Rode the Tube with Jools Holland. She has been usurped in her role as mother to her son, by Liam Neeson and Jessica Lang in Rob-Roy. On television she has played the role of wife to Ford Keiran, Fish and Andy Cameron; daughter to Miriam Margoyles, Annie Ross and Johnny Beattie; sister to Andy Gray, Forbes Masson, and Bobby Carlyle and has even been taken advantage of by Stefan Dennis.

“It must be just over twenty years ago that my friend Jane introduced me to Graham who gave us a tour of the old Music Hall. The project to resurrect it had just begun and the story of the huge part it played in Glasgow’s life began to unfold. We were shown scarfs, belts, buttons, nappy pins and babies bibs all lost underfoot and imagined the crowds fresh from Shipyard or factory all hemmed in to watch the shows. The cast of many, legends of their craft.

During my career it has been a fervent wish of mine to create work that would encourage folk back to the theatre. I was very chuffed to be asked to become one of this Iconic Music Hall’s patrons. Not least because of its powerful story, which is now ongoing.”