Britannia Panopticon
Support Us

Panopticon Trust

Britannia Panopticon

Raising funds to purchase and restore the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall in Glasgow

Our vision is to fully restore the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall as a public building owned by the Panopticon Trust, operating sustainably as a venue for live performance, arts and the community with music hall at its heart, telling the story of Glasgow’s working-class social and entertainment history.

We area new building preservation trust formed in December 2018. Over the next five years have a target to raise £1m through a new capital appeal to build a Panopticon Capital Restoration Fund to help us purchase the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall. We will announce details of how to donate to the Restoration Fund soon.

Playing Stan Laurel in the Glasgow Panopticon

Britannia Panopticon

It all started back in march when I first received the call from Colin MacGregor about playing Stan Laurel and Performing “trail of the lonesome pine” and “at the ball, That’s all” as pre show entertainment to “Two on the Roof” by Shug the dug productions in the Britannia panopticon. At first I was excited but extremely nervous because I had never performed on stage prior to this as I usually do more Film/TV work.

I was given a brief about the history of the panopticon and the iconic characters to tread the boards and immediately realised it was a opportunity I couldn’t miss out on. I began reading more about laurel and hardy as well as watching some of the old movies and the recent “Stan and Ollie” movie as I wanted to be able to portray Stan laurel as best I could. Especially after reading he had his debut on stage in the panopticon.

I felt so honoured not only to have been given the opportunity to portray such an iconic character, and tred the same boards he once did, but also to perform in the famous britannia panopticon. I had an amazing experience and I’m so truly grateful to have been given this massive opportunity.

Chris J W Healy, Actor/Model

Journey of a Trustee by Deepika Bhardwaj

Britannia Panopticon

The Britannia Panopticon Musical Hall (BPMH) is a unique venue which combines a vintage vibe with an almost ethereal quality. You can almost hear the old age echo of laughter from frivolity of ages past. This is one of the reasons I decided to volunteer in the first place along with encouragement from other volunteers who were convinced I would enjoy it and they were not wrong. 5 years later, I have got involved in a range of events and shows that the BPMH put on. The annual Halloween shows being one of my favourites where I get involved in performance, script writing and supporting other volunteers during rehearsals and show nights. It is a fabulous show with a variety of acts and always sells out. The buzz of the night, chatter of the public as they arrive and step back in time to experience a show in the oldest music hall in the world.

After years of volunteering, I decided to become a Trustee and sit on the board for the Friends of Panopticon Musical Hall Trust as I wanted to be part of helping shape the future direction of the BPMH. It has given me an opportunity to make suggestions and offer ideas that further promote and advertise the BPMH to the public. For example, I helped organise a Robert Burns themed event over two nights to celebrate our national Bard. We had a strong advertising campaign in which we partnered with a neighbouring restaurant to offer a show ticket and Burn’s supper deal which sold out. We has also had some air time on BBC Scotland which gave us the opportunity to advertise the BMPH and the Burn’s event. The nights comprised whiskey tasting, a variety of Burn’s inspired acts and raffles prizes. Both nights were a roaring success so we now plan to run this event annually. Increasing awareness of the cultural and historical significance of the BPMH is crucial to its survival and lasting legacy.

I have so far enjoyed my time as a Trustee and currently involved in a range of other projects. I look forward to the future and hope the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall continues to stand the test of time for another 100 years and beyond!

Friends of Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Trust

Britannia Panopticon

20th Anniversary

In 1997 Judith Bowers started a campaign to raise awareness to the plight of the world’s oldest, and at that time mostly forgotten, music hall, Britannia Panopticon. Within a year more people had joined the cause and in 1999 this little group had formed into the Friends of Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Trust, receiving its charitable status on May 15th 1999.

The initial board included Judith Bowers, Graham Hunter (who is still a trustee), David Carter Fergusson, Robin Cuthbertson, Finlay Mclay (who is now Judith’s husband), and Robin Cameron - who was the first chairman; a position that he held until August 2015.


Gladstone's Bag

Britannia Panopticon

Gladstone’s Bag is our in-house orchestra and has performed and produced fundraising events for us numerous times.

Gladstone’s Bag was originally formed in 1993, by Lawrence Dunn, to play popular light classical music from the Victorian era, and their first engagement was to play at an event celebrating the 125th anniversary of the building of Crieff Hydro. Since then, they have performed throughout Scotland with their Victorian programmes and have also ventured into the 20th-century with their programmes of "music from the wireless". They have performed several times at the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall in Glasgow, as part of their Music Hall afternoons, giving concerts.

They also specialise in playing scores for silent films and have played regularly during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, at the Panopticon and during the Bo'ness Silent Film Festival. Much of the music they use was composed in the 1910s and 1920s specifically for performance with silent films. Where possible they use the original cue-sheets. They have played for short films by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Harold Lloyd, Fatty Arbuckle as well as feature films including "Metropolis", "Nosferatu", "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" and Hitchcock's "The Lodger".