Glasgow University gets flamboyant makeover as panto legend delivers lecture as dame

Oh yes, Dorothy did!


Theatre and panto icon Johnny McKnight embodied camp as he dressed in exquisite dame attire to deliver an unforgettable lecture at Glasgow University’s Bute Hall. 

Celebrating the vibrant richness of Scottish theatre, McKnight was dressed as one of his most loved pantomime characters: Dorothy Blawna-Gale.

The Oz-bound Dorothy graced Bute Hall as this year’s instalment of the Cameron Lecture – an event which was founded back in 2019 as a collaboration between Glasgow University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. 

An acclaimed legendary theatre director, and Glasgow University alumnus, John Tiffany established the Cameron Lecture to pay tribute to one of his greatest inspirations of a tutor – the late Dr Alasdair Cameron. 

Tiffany has directed internationally recognised, award-winning productions such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and curated the event as a way of accentuating Scotland’s rich theatre traditions as a way to reflect on the ethos of Dr Alasdair Cameron.

McKnight is also connected to the Cameron Lecture, being a Royal Conservatoire of Scotland alumnus. He gloriously channelled Dorothy during the delivery of this year’s lecture – titled The Panto Dame (She’s Behind You) – last Sunday.  

The panto star dedicated his lecture to Dr Alasdair Cameron, who was a beloved theatre professor at Glasgow University, as he performed to such a packed and ecstatic audience.

Inherent to the values of the Cameron Lecture is ensuring an inclusive and accessible theatre environment. Therefore, the event was free of charge, appealing directly to students who may not otherwise be able to experience the history of Scottish theatre culture.

Students and staff from the partnered institutions were provided with reserved seating but within minutes public tickets were also sold out. The response to the lecture showed how the multi-talented team behind the production did Dr Alasdair Cameron justice by demonstrating Scotland’s uniquely vibrant, and often provocative, theatrical heritage. 

Featured image via X (formerly Twitter) @UofGlasgow

Related articles recommended by this author:

• An in depth look at period product availability across the University of Glasgow campus

Glasgow Uni rape survivor gave empowering talk to students after changing Scottish policy

Glasgow University ‘last minute’ makes online final exams in person over AI concerns