Theatre and archery at the Baths

In partnership with Community Renewal and Friends of Romano Lav, Govanhill voice is running a youth journalisim project. Young participants are learning about photography and journalisim and have been asked to complete a series of community interviews on subjects of their choice.
As the first instalment of the Roma youth journalism course, Laura Balogova spoke to Bruce Downie from Govanhill baths about the Theatre group and Archery club.

Govanhill Baths is a local community organisation that is now well established, how long have you been running?

Govanhill Baths are run by Govanhill Baths Community Trust which grew out of the campaign to save the pool in 2001. In 2011, the Trust were successful in getting the baths open again and are working towards getting the building fully restored again. There’s still work to do to raise the necessary funds but we’re a lot closer. So that’s 17 years now and counting

How long has Strathclyde theatre group been running and what are your plans for this year in terms of performances or classes?

The resident theatre company is called Govanhill Theatre. Strathclyde Theatre Group were here for a while in 2012/13 but it was felt that a company more in tune with the aims of the Trust and the local community would be a better option, so Govanhill Theatre was formed. We’ve staged over 40 productions since then, involving lots of local people.
We just recently staged a version of Whisky Galore and we have 3 more productions coming up this year and people in Govanhill are welcome to audition or to volunteer to work behind the scenes.

We don’t have any classes planned at the moment, but there will be in the future when we have more space and more resources.


Above are some posters for productions that the Theatre has put in in the Baths.

How did you get into working in performing arts and what advice would you give to anyone that wants to follow this route?

I studied acting at University and worked as an actor for a while, but I always wanted to direct and create theatre, make a story come to life on stage, that’s what really drives me.
Working as an actor be it in film or theatre or television is not an easy option, there are some great moments but there will always be periods of time when you’re not working, so you have to have other sources of income, be it teaching or working in a bar or whatever but if you have what it takes and you really want to do it, then you must.
If you’re lucky enough to have drama at school, then study, learn as much as you can. Then go to college, go to the best course that you can. That’s only the beginning though, you should keep studying and learning all through your life as well as attend auditions whenever you can. See as many plays as you can and figure out what makes them good.
If acting is about portraying life, about portraying some kind of truth then the more you know about life the better. Read, write, discuss everything, observe people, get to know people, learn new skills all the time, the more well-rounded a person you are, the better an actor you will be. Be polite and generous and kind, the more people like you, the more chance they’ll cast you in their play or film.


You also started archery classes in the baths in 2017, what inspired you to do this?

I’ve been involved in archery since I was a kid and it’s a great sport, I love shooting. It’s the kind of sport that people can do their whole lives, it doesn’t depend on being the fittest or fastest or strongest, it needs different skills, especially patience, discipline and concentration, if you can do exactly the same thing again and again, then you’ll hit the target every single time. Those are transferable skills, those kind of skills apply to so many aspects of our lives, so many things we strive to do.
But apart from that, quite simply it’s nice to hit the target, to hit what you’re aiming at, there’s a great satisfaction in learning that skill. You know you’ll be all right in the zombie apocalypse.
I didn’t think about putting on classes at the baths until last year, it was just another thing that I did but when the classes started, we’ve had a great response, archery is something lots of people want to try at least once.


The current course participants for this archery session.

Are classes at the baths free or is it a club that requires a subscription and fees?
The introductory classes are free. If you want to continue after that, then you have to join the club and there will be fees involved, that’s necessary because you have to join the national organisation and have insurance cover for the year. There’s different rates, depending on age and employment status. If you’re not working, you could qualify for complete exemption from fees.


Who are these programmes / activities aimed at and how can local people get involved or apply?
If anybody wants to talk about what’s going on with Govanhill Theatre, I’m happy to discuss the latest project and what opportunities there are to get involved. You can email me or better yet just turn up and have a chat.
As for the archery, the introductory course last for 6 weeks and is for local people. You have to sign up in advance. Places are limited, so we can only deal with 12 people at any time but if you don’t get on one course, you should be able to get on the next. Very soon, we’re going to try some one-off sessions. If you like those, then you’ll know if you want to do the 6 week course

For more information about the theatre please email

For more information about the archery please email

A bit about the author;

This piece was written by Laura Balogova who is 15 years old and lived in Glasgow for 11 years.
I am originally from Slovakia.
At the moment I am a school student at Holyrood Secondary School and am in S4. In the future I would like to be a primary teacher or a journalist, I really enjoy taking photos and enjoy being creative. Some of my hobbies include photography, writing and dancing.
I am involved in a Roma Dancing Group where we learn how to do traditional Roma dances.
I really like living in Glasgow , I think it’s really good because there are so many people that are from different parts of the world, which I think is amazing.
I really like how most people in Glasgow are really friendly and nice no matter where you are from.

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