A letter from our co-director Andy Field about The Arches in Glasgow
Last weekend I was in Glasgow. I was there because the Arches had invited me to be there.
They had a commissioned me to make a show called Lookout with a group of 11 year olds from a primary school in the Gorbals. The piece was a one-on-one encounter between one of the young performers and an adult audience member, standing on a hilltop looking out of the city and imaginging what it’s future might look like. It’s a project I have wanted to make for a while but it was the Arches who finally trusted me and supported me to come to Glasgow and make it happen.
About a decade ago the Arches were the first people that ever gave me a professional gig, and later they were also the first people to actually commission a show from me. There is probably only one other theatre anywhere in the country that has had such an influence on my career and I’ve never even lived in Glasgow. I know there a hundreds more people in the city and beyond it that feel the same.
Still reeling from the election results that filtered through on Friday morning, on Saturday evening we gathered at the Arches for Queer Futures, a performance club-night that filled their beautiful subterranean space with wild, ridiculous, gorgeous queer performance by artists including David Hoyle, Christeene Vale, Rosana Cade and FK Alexader. We watched, we danced, we cheered, we laughed and gathered together in these vaulted archways it felt like there was hope and solidarity where all around me in the UK I was reading and hearing nothing but despair.
Yesterday I found out that Glasgow City Council have revoked the Arches’ club license. As a club the Arches is one of the most iconic and best-loved spaces in the country. Like any club that has thousands and thousands of people through its doors every single week, there have been incidents with drug use but the venue remains one of the safest and most well-supervised clubs in the city. Whatever your feelings might be about it, revoking the Arches’ license does not make recreational drug use disappear, it sends people to less safe venues elsewhere in the city. The Arches have done many things to try and work with the police and make the Arches as safe a place for clubbing as possible – undoubtedly re-instating their license and continuing that dialogue is the best way for the council and the police to keep people safe in the city. Driving them out of the business is not only vindictive, it is entirely counterproductive.
The revenue generated from club nights is what sustains the Arches important, adventurous performance programme. Without it both will disappear. As well as being devastating to the people of the city and others all over the world whose first contact with the city is through the venue, seeing a place that has trusted and supported me more than any other would absolutely break my heart.
For that reason along with many others I would urge you to sign this petition asking the council to re-instate the Arches’ license, and if you have any other ideas for how we might support them please let me know.
Thanks for your time,
Herald story about the license: www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/glasgow-licensing-board-shuts-club-element-of-the-arches.1431698331