The Arches (Glasgow)

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The Arches
The Arches Glasgow crowd.jpg
Death Disco club night
Location City Centre, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Owner Arches Retail Company Limited
Type Bar, Theatre, Music venue, Nightclub
Opened 1991 [1]
The Arches, Glasgow

The Arches is a bar, arts venue, theatre, live music venue and nightclub in Glasgow, Scotland, which first opened in 1991. It is a not-for-profit organisation. It is situated in the City Centre under Glasgow Central station and the West Coast Main Line in the brick arches of the viaduct that leads into the station, with entrances on Midland Street, and since 2001, an entrance underneath Hielanman's Umbrella on Argyle Street.[2][3] The venue has 7,800 square metres (84,000 sq ft) of floor space which is spread over two floors and seven arches.


The site of the venue was a previously derelict area below the Glasgow Central railway station, which was converted to house the exhibition Glasgow's Glasgow during the city's year as European City of Culture. In 1991, after the exhibition had ended, the space was obtained by Andy Arnold, who would become the venue's artistic director, for the purposes of creating a theatre. Realising that theatre productions required substantial funding, Arnold decided to stage nightclub events to support his projects, and this practice continues to this day, the clubbing revenues helping to fund the array of events it hosts on a regular basis.[1]

In early 2007, The Arches was voted 12th best club in the world by DJs in a DJ Magazine poll.[4]

In January 2008, Andy Arnold left The Arches to become the artistic director at the Tron Theatre.[5] He was succeeded at the Arches by Jackie Wylie.[1]

Nightclub events[edit]

The Arches has played host to club nights since 1992 with some nights being promoted by outside companies and others being in-house productions.[6] Notable long running regular clubs to be held in the venue include:

Slam at the Arches[edit]

One of the first club nights to be hosted in The Arches, Slam ran every Friday between 1992 and 1998. Originally the night was held in now defunct Glasgow venue Tin Pan Alley and later The Sub Club. It was hosted by local techno producers Slam but also featured regular guests, most notably Underworld and Daft Punk (in their first UK appearance in 1997).[6]


In 1998, after six years of running Friday club nights at The Arches, Slam created a bigger, monthly event, Pressure, on the last Friday of every month.[7] The night normally has at least two rooms of music playing mainly house and techno. Pressure has seen some of the largest names in dance music play The Arches including Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Derrick Carter, Richie Hawtin, Laurent Garnier, Felix da Housecat, Ricardo Villalobos, Boys Noize, Vitalic, and Erol Alkan.[8][9]

Other club nights[edit]

Other well-established club nights at the Arches include:

  • Colours (1995) [10]
  • Inside Out (1996) [6]
  • Death Disco (2002) [6]
  • Octopussy (2005) [11]

Alien Wars[edit]

In 2008, The Arches reprieved its Alien War attraction, which took place in 2002, and transformed it into Alien Wars. The initial show was an Alien-inspired tour, recreating the atmosphere and horror of the Alien films. Many celebrities were linked to this attraction, when staged in London, including: Sigourney Weaver, who participated; Sylvester Stallone, whose restaurant was next door, and declined to take part; and, Michael Jackson,[12] whose bodyguards visited but apparently didn't finish the tour.[13] Sigourney Weaver, when asked to comment on her experience, said "Although I have been through the movies, I was screaming as much as everyone else."[13]

The organisers, who had a contract for the first attraction with 20th Century Fox, the copyright holders to the Alien franchise, decided to go beyond this limitation and develop their own storyline, thus freeing themselves of the contractual constraints imposed by Fox. The 2008 storyline is centred on an alien vessel being discovered in the basement by workmen, guarded by the military for the last couple of years, and to which visitors are escorted by "space marines".[12]

Theatre productions[edit]

The Arches Theatre Company has performed many plays including pieces by Samuel Beckett and Tennessee Williams,[14] generally receiving favourable ratings from the Scottish Arts Council.[15][16] Under the direction of Jackie Wylie, The Arches has recently staged performances such as DEREVO's Natura Morte, Nic Green's Trilogy and Linder Sterling's Darktown Cakewalk. Two major contemporary theatre festivals produced by The Arches have included Behaviour, Wylie's rebranding of the original Arches Theatre Festival, and Arches Live; a theatre festival celebrating young risk-taking artists.


  1. ^ a b c "About Us". Arches Retail Company Limited. Retrieved 11 February 2009. 
  2. ^ "Find us". Arches Retail Company Limited. Retrieved 12 February 2009. 
  3. ^ "The Arches (253 Argyle Street, Glasgow)". The List Ltd. Retrieved 12 February 2009. 
  4. ^ "Top 50 Clubs voted by DJs (2007)". DJ Magazine. Retrieved 11 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "History". Tron Theatre Ltd. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d Richardson, Andrew (2006-09-18). "History of the Arches". The List (Issue 559). Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  7. ^ "Slam - 10 Years Of Pressure". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  8. ^ Duncan, Chris (2008-11-26). "Pressure's Tenth Birthday". The Skinny. 
  9. ^ "Pressure". The List (Issue 603). 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  10. ^ "Colours 17th Birthday Party". The Arches. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  11. ^ "Octopussy - licensed to thrill". Octopussy UK. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  12. ^ a b McLean, Pauline (2008-12-05). "Alien War". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  13. ^ a b "Alien War". The List. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  14. ^ "The Arches Theatre Company". Visiting Arts. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  15. ^ "Arches Artistic Evaluation: Amada, TL 2008 09 05" (PDF). Scottish Arts Council. Retrieved 13 February 2009. 
  16. ^ "Arches Live Artistic Evaluation: Drummond and Doherty, 2007 21 09" (PDF). Scottish Arts Council. Retrieved 13 February 2009. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°51′33″N 4°15′30″W / 55.85917°N 4.25833°W / 55.85917; -4.25833