WHERE IS IT? On Argyle Street in the Trongate district of the city centre, near Glasgow Cross, just south of Merchant City
Found on the cusp of Merchant City and the Gallowgate, the Tron Theatre is instantly recognisable due to the 16th Century church steeple and clocktower that rises up over the entrance.
Its name has nothing to do with the cult sci-fi film but derives from a Scots variation of the Norman French word meaning to weigh scales. The Trongate area was where goods shipped along the Clyde were weighed and taxed, and Trongate itself is one of the oldest streets in the city. Built in 1529, the entire church was destroyed in a fire in the late 1800s, save for the steeple. This was incorporated into the new building designed by Scottish architectural siblings James and Robert Adam. It was later used by the Glasgow police force, before falling into disuse.
The Tron Theatre Company took over the old kirk in 1979. It was another ten years before the company went fully public, under the leadership of Michael Boyd, who would later become Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Boyd and his team started to deliver powerful productions of new writing and reimaginings of classic texts and would serve to unearth such talent as Alan Cumming, Peter Mullan and Craig Armstong. They won many awards and managed to secure £5m investment from the National Lottery to renovate the theatre, juxtaposing the old stylings with modern art spaces. The new design, courtesy of Edinburgh firm RMJM (famous for the Falkirk Wheel), won the Glasgow Institute of Architect's People's Choice Award in 1999.
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