No Mean City
Production Dates: June 6, 1988 - July 16, 1988
Directed by: David Hayman
Written by: H. Kingsley Long, Alexander McArthur
Produced by: 7:84 Theatre Company

No Mean City is a 1935 novel by H. Kingsley Long, a journalist, and Alexander McArthur, an unemployed worker. It is an account of life in the Gorbals, a run-down slum district of Glasgow (now mostly demolished, but re-built in a contemporary style) with the hard men and the razor gangs.

Whatever its literary or other merits, for many years it was regarded as the definitive account of life in Glasgow, and its title became a byword. It originated from a set of conversations sent to Longman's publishing firm from McArthur which was then sent to Kingsley Long to build into a complete novel.

Its title is a quotation from the Bible, where Paul the Apostle says that he is a citizen of Tarsus, which is "no mean city", i.e. no obscure or insignificant city.

This tale of Glasgow gang lands is set in the inter-war period (1920s) and is a depiction of working class life for young and old, male and female and gives insight into both the private and public issues faced by the dwellers of the city.

Cast & Characters

Iain Andrew, Robert Carlyle, Matthew Costello, Kenneth Glenaan, Louise Goodall, Douglas Henshall, Steve Hotchkiss, Susan Lowrey, Michael Maguire, Gilbert Martin, Mandy Matthews, Faye Milligan, Alexander Morton, Caroline Paterson, Patricia Ross, Findlay Welsh, Susan Watson

  • Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy
  • Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow
  • Dundee Repertory Theatre, Dundee
  • King’s Theatre, Glasgow
  • Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock
  • Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle

Project navigation