AS ONE of Glasgow’s most beloved theatres prepares to move out of its Gorbals home for a £19.4m redevelopment, its fundraising appeal has moved up a gear.

Celebrity supporters of the Citizens are urging friends and fans all over the globe to help transform the famous venue.

Former Doctor Who Peter Capaldi is the latest star to back the We Are Citizens campaign to raise £1.6m for the exciting overhaul, which will include a brand new foyer and café and revamped studio and rehearsal spaces.

“The Citizens Theatre to me is an emblem of Glasgow’s creativity - it’s almost a microcosm of what it’s about to be Glaswegian and to be arty,” explains the Glasgow-born actor, also well known for his roles as spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It and, more recently, nosy neighbour Mr Curry in the Paddington movies.

“Here, in what were some of the most notorious slums in Europe, there grew and blossomed this incredible artfulness against all kind of odds. And that’s kind of what it’s like to be arty in Glasgow.”

Peter adds: “It’s a special place full of memories and ghosts and laughs so we should all be putting our hands in our pockets and trying to make sure it’s not falling to bits.”

He laughs: “It is allowed to fall to bits a wee bit, because that’s part of the whole thing - but not completely.”

The Citizens is more than 140 years old, and welcomes around 65,000 audience members each year. Its 128-strong staff includes production, admin, learning, communications, development and front of house teams, and around 300 actors, directors, lighting designers and musicians work on the Citizens’ stage each year

The theatre is closing to the general public in June and staff are moving out over the summer, before they take temporary residence at Tramway for the Citizens productions of Cyrano de Bergerac in September and A Christmas Carol in December.

Stars of stage and screen are lining up to support the much-loved venue.

Celia Imrie, star of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Absolutely Fabulous films, performed at the Citizens in When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout, Sharman Macdonald’s [Keira Knightley’s mother] first play.

Celia, whose father was from Glasgow, says: “I’m extremely proud of my Scottish heritage, and even more proud to help the Citizens.

“It is my favourite theatre in the whole country – it’s the theatre every actor wants to act in and it is so important to keep it alive and kicking for all generations to come.”

Scots actor Colin McCredie, best known for Taggart and River City, recalls performing in the Traverse Theatre’s production of Passing Places at the Citizens, and going to see productions there during his drama school days 27 years ago.

“I remember paying the £1 student ticket price to see the likes of Glenda Jackson and Rupert Everett perform there,” he says. “It’s just a great place to go, and my favourite theatre in Glasgow and Scotland.

“I hope people will dig deep to raise money and help the Citizens move forward.”

Fellow Taggart star and respected stage actress Blythe Duff, who first appeared at the Citizens in Swing Hammer Swing in 1995, is also delighted to back the campaign.

“The Citz has been such an important part of my life,” she says. “I’ve been an actor for 35 years but I used to come here as a child and it still rests with me in such an amazing way.

“To know that the building will be transformed but still maintain its Victorian roots is very important to me.

“The Citizens Theatre is a key character in Glasgow’s story.”

Glasgow actor, comedian and writer Elaine C Smith has been an ambassador for the fundraising campaign for two years. The star of Two Doors Down recorded her TV series Elaine at the Citizens and she appeared on stage there in Wildcat and 7:84 shows throughout the 80s, including the original production of The Steamie.

“The Citizens is an integral part of the fabric of this city – artistically and culturally,” she says. “I have appeared on stage there many times over the last 30 years. It has to survive and flourish.”

Still Game star Sanjeev Kohli says if he had to list only five things to promote Glasgow, the Citizens Theatre would be “front and centre.”

“Every time you walk through the doors, it is like walking in to a magic land,” he says. “I come here four or five times a year and each time, it feels magical all over again.”

Sanjeev adds: “I can’t think of anywhere else like the Citizens.

“Glasgow should be proud of this place. It is an international beacon, groundbreaking, amazing and I’m proud to be part of the community that is supporting it.”

To help raise £1.6m for the Citizens Theatre redevelopment campaign, We Are Citizens, text Citz45 to 70970 to donate £5. Find out more at