THE CITIZENS Theatre has welcomed many couples on first dates – but Karen and Edward Tomney can go one better.

They spent their wedding day in the venue, after tricking family and friends and dodging their own reception.

“It caused a little bit of a stramash, I can tell you,” smiles Karen. “We didn’t want a big, fancy wedding, we just wanted to get married to spend every moment together.

“So we told everyone we were getting married in the afternoon, changed the time at the registry office, eloped in the morning and went to the Citizens to see Noel Coward’s Private Lives afterwards instead! It was magical.”

The Citizens had a special place in their hearts, Karen explains, because it was where they had had their first date, just two months earlier.

“We’d known each other for a long time before we started going out, but our first proper date was to see The Silver Darlings at the Citz in August 1994,” she says. “Ten days later, he proposed. I couldn’t believe my luck – I had always loved him from afar…”

Karen, 51, and Edward, 57 are now getting ready to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows in a big celebration with their daughter Phillippa, 23, son Edward 16 and Karen’s son from a previous relationship, Sean, 30.

“Unfortunately we are not doing it at the Citizens,” she laughs. “It will be a big ceilidh, and we can’t wait. The Citz will always have a special place in our hearts.”

Karen’s happy memories have been captured in Citz Stories, a competition launched by the venue as it prepares for a massive, multi-million pound redevelopment.

Bosses invited everyone who had ever worked in, performed at or visited the Citizens to share their memories and the resulting tales could rival anything seen on stage.

Funny, fascinating and moving, the short stories brilliantly capture the history and character not just of the venue, but of the city and its people.

Karen’s story is one of seven chosen for the final shortlist in the Citz Stories contest.

The writers have all received Christmas show tickets and now all seven tales are open to a public vote, starting this week.

The winner will receive a coveted Timeless Token, entitling them and a plus one to attend every Citizens Theatre production at the theatre, for life.

You can read all seven stories on the website here but, today, in the second part of our special feature, we are revealing a little bit more about the writers and their terrific tales.

Abigail Cochrane recalls being taken to productions at the Citizens and at the nearby Close Theatre Club in the 60s and 70s by her father.

“Often, especially at the Close, I would be the only child in the audience,” she says. “I feel as if the Citizens has always been part of my life, from going with my late father and now with my daughter.

“It has a unique atmosphere and always brings back happy memories when I visit.”

Calum Watts recalls a hilarious moment with his mother at the Citizens back in 1972.

“I remember my mum arguing with a very well-intentioned usher about admitting seven-year-old me to see Tamburlaine the Great,” he says. “I got in to see it and it has haunted me ever since. My mum was not put off by being told that grown men had fainted during previous performances.”

Mary Murphy recalls ending up at the Citz with her boyfriend when they could not get into the cinema one Saturday afternoon in 1968.

“We wandered over the Clyde and came upon the Citizens,” she says. “My boyfriend paid for seats in the Gods and we watched Black Comedy. We had a great laugh. The plot involved reversing the lighting - when it was on, the actors acted like it was dark, and vice versa.

“I became hooked on theatre. I later became an English teacher and always loved theatre outings and saw all kinds of plays but I'll never forget that first night in the Gods where we were so high up I thought I was going to fall over.”

Mary, who adds that she “had four children, married my boyfriend and divorced him”, says she still loves the Citizens.

“Today I was on a backstage tour and love it even more and I think I will join their classes, age 71,” she smiles. “It was a happy event when we got turned away from the pictures.”

Vote online for your favourite Citz Stories at

Do you have memories of the Citz?

Share them by emailing or writing to Ann Fotheringham, Thanks for the Memories, Evening Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB.