Theatre geeks understand only too well the pain of forking out hundreds of pounds in show tickets every year, but when David MacLennan came up with the concept of A Play, A Pie, And A Pint, it was a much more casual, affordable and community-like affair that he had in mind.
For just around £10 – the price varies depending on the day of the week – audience members get, literally, a play, a pie, and a pint. Now in its 21st season, the lunchtime theatre concept has been extended beyond Glasgow to be recreated in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and more. Shows run six days a week, Monday to Saturday, starting at 1pm and running for just under an hour. With a different play put on each week, theatre loversare spoilt for choice and able to get a regular dose of performance to satisfy their appetite.
When I arrived at Oran Mor, at 12:30pm one Tuesday in September, more than half of the seats were already occupied. “Tuesdays are quiet,” says the lady next to me, “Usually there’s even more people.” She explains how she’s from near Glasgow, and that she regularly takes trips down here for the lunchtime theatre. Glancing around, I see I am easily the youngest in the crowd, which is understandable given that most Glaswegians will either be at work or school.
The lady went on to point at a name on the programme – Juliet Cadzow. “That’s the wife of David MacLennan, the founder of A Play, A Pie, and A Pint. She performs in these plays sometimes. He passed away this year – very, very sad.”
The lights dim and the play begins; It’s Only Words by Sylvia Dow is a story beautifully built around the book of The Coral Island. If this is a demonstration of the standard of the plays that A Play A Pie and A Pint puts on, I’ll definitely be back for more.
[Karen Cheung – @karenklcheung]