REVELLERS were forced to evacuate the Glasgow School of Art on the anniversary of a blaze which destroyed the building – because a fire-dancing act at a graduation party went wrong.

Hundreds of people attending the party in The Art School student union watched a woman suspended herself from ropes, dance and strip in front of a carpet of naked flame.

Fury has erupted over the “crass” and “tasteless” show, which took place exactly a year after the school’s second fire, and which saw emergency services rush to the School of Art’s Reid building – just metres from the fire-ravaged “Mack”.

As exclusive footage obtained by The Herald on Sunday shows, the flames swelled and caused smoke to billow throughout the room, setting off the fire alarm and forcing the venue to be evacuated.

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Now the competency of the entire Glasgow School of Art (GSA) board, as well as the management of venue, has been called in to question for permitting such a performance in the first place.

However the GSA said the event was organised by the students association and refused to comment, saying it was a separate entity.

The incident in the union's Assembly Hall venue, which is attached to the £30m Reid Building extension, took place around 3am on June 15, 2019, during the Shoot Your Shot club night.

Paul Sweeney, Labour and Co-operative candidate for Glasgow North East, said the incident showed a "breathtaking lack of judgment" and highlighted the "chronic mismanagement" at the campus.

He said: "This was a crass and tasteless stunt which shows a breathtaking lack of judgment. It's hard to imagine who could possibly have signed off on this thinking it was a good idea.

“The two fires, and incidents like this, reinforce my view that there is chronic mismanagement at the Glasgow School of Art and that the Scottish Government must now insist on a full review of Glasgow School of Art’s management structures, including integration with the University of Glasgow.”

Eva Bolander, SNP councillor covering the Garnethill area, where the school is located, said the incident would do nothing to help rebuild the relationship between the school and local community, which was eroded after locals were locked out of their homes for weeks after the second fire.

She said: "Given the two devastating fires at the Art School in recent years, I am shocked that there was yet another incident requiring the attendance of the fire service.

"The trust between GSA management and the Garnethill community has to be rebuilt and one would expect that the most stringent control of events, activities and performances would be in place in all of GSA's buildings.

"The people living in the immediate vicinity of the Art School whose lives are just recovering following the severe disruption of last year’s fire deserve nothing less."

Annie Wells, the Glasgow Conservative MSP said the performance was "distasteful and dangerous."

She said: “Whoever sanctioned this event needs to consider their position and take a long hard look in the mirror.

“It’s bad enough that this was somehow considered to be acceptable on the anniversary of a tragic fire that broke so many people’s hearts across Glasgow, Scotland and even internationally.

“But this isn’t only distasteful, it’s dangerous. This could so easily have gone wrong and we’ve seen from the School of Art fires how quickly the situation can turn from something small to engulfing entire buildings.

“Celebrating creativity doesn’t mean that we need to agree to stunts that are so obviously dangerous. This was both the wrong time and the wrong place for that kind of performance and someone in charge should have known better.

“We need to see the people who signed this off step up and take responsibility. This is yet another reckless decision from people involved in the art school.”

One attendee at the event said: "The performance went wrong, I think smokeless fuel was supposed to be used but it wasn't, and smoke started coming off the material which was on fire.

"The whole room just filled with smoke, the fire alarms started going off. The performer just continued with what she was doing until she was told to stop.

"I think basically nobody wanted it known about because it would make the GSA look bad."

Sources told the Herald on Sunday that as a form of "punishment" some events at the venue were called off and others were given a curfew of 11pm, instead of the previous 3am cut-off time.

The Glasgow School of Art Students' Association (GSASA), which runs The Art School venue through its company GSASA Ltd, announced this week that it would no longer be serving alcohol, and only a limit offering of food would be available as well as tea and coffee until new year.

Staff have been protesting after being told on Hallowe’en they would receive no more shifts until the new year while management attempt to save the venue from complete financial collapse.

Earlier this year, management said they were losing £4,000 per week and had to reduce workers' shifts until the students returned in September.

However since then, staff say, there has been no improvement and the guarantees agreed previously about hours and contracts have been ignored.

On Thursday workers formed a picket line outside the venue while the student president held a Q&A with students inside about plans to save the venue.

So far, GSA has refused to get involved, claiming that GSASA Ltd is solely responsible for what happens at The Art School.

Trade union Unite have been supporting the workers, with many now calling for GSA management to get involved.

One employee said: "There is no way that GSA is not involved in this. Maybe on paper they can say they are not linked, but they provide money to the union and they know what is going on here.

"They know that they must have a Students' Association to abide by the law.

"They are basically scapegoating these elected students, who don't actually know how to run a business, and blaming them for the failings of the venue. It isn't their fault.

"It doesn't help that the venue couldn't hold big events over the summer due to this fire performance, which will not have helped in terms of making money. That was signed off by office staff, and the Students' Association."

Bryan Simpson, Unite industrial organiser, said: "The way our members have been treated throughout this process has been nothing short of scandalous. For 3 months the GSASA leadership - who are directors of the company that employs The Art School staff - have refused to engage with their workers while they had their hours cut and were being bullied.”

“On 31st October our members organised a mass rally outside the venue to bring workers and students together in protest at their treatment.”

“Instead of meeting staff and students, the GSASA under instruction from their solicitors, cancelled the Halloween event which would have been very lucrative for the art school.”

“The GSASA have now decided, without any prior-consultation with staff or students, to effectively close the venue for at least the next two months”

“It is now abundantly clear from their actions, that the GSASA have no idea how to run such a culturally important venue.

"The Art School Bar (Vic) should be run by the people who know it best - it’s workers and students not sabbatical directors who hide behind lawyers.”

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The director of GSASA Ltd, and student president Alesandro Marini, failed to respond when contacted by the Herald on Sunday.

The Herald on Sunday can reveal that GSA management gave a £260,000 loan to the GSASA Ltd in 2014, following the first fire, according to the school’s company accounts. Just three years later they decided to write off £210,000 of it.

In 2017, they also provided a grant of £84,306 and last year handed them £107,750 in grant money.

A spokeswoman for the Glasgow School of Art said the funding was “to the charity for the work that the student association does to support students”and added: “It is for GSASA Ltd to answer for what they have done/are doing.”

The elected student president, who is the director of GSASA Ltd, also sits on the board of the Glasgow School of Art corporate company every year.

A spokesman for GSASA said there was “no fire” on the premises, and said that the performance “did not take place” nor was the performer naked.

When The Herald on Sunday described the video footage, the spokesman refused to clarify the statement provided.

He said there had been risk assessments carried out during the day with “no incident” but added: “On the evening of the performance a single heat sensor picked up the spike in temperature when the performance began.

This tripped the building’s fire alarm, and staff halted the performance, extinguished the performer’s equipment, instituted a full safety check and the audience were calmly evacuated as per the venue’s fire procedures.

“As per the fire system a trip of the alarm automatically informs the fire brigade – who arrived to assess building safety and gave an all-clear for the audience to re-enter for the event to continue.

“The event continued till close without any further incident.

“The rigorous safety procedures and oversight in place around the event ensure that all safety measures were fully in place, and that at no point was there any danger to the attendees of the event.”

The spokesman added: “In terms of the GSASA Ltd adherence to ongoing fire safety assessment and improvements, a full fire safety audit was instituted after the incident with attendance and inspection by representatives of Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

“The fire safety audit was passed with only very minor points raised, while the SFRS feedback was very positive and the venues staff and fire officers were commended for the standard of housekeeping and the extent of knowledge and good practice as persons responsible for the building.”

He said that he could not comment on whether the event was in poor taste or inappropriate “as these are purely subjective opinions”.

A Scottish Fire and rescue service spokesman said: “We were called to the Reid Building on Renfrew Street, Glasgow, at 3.14am on June 15, 2019 following a fire alarm actuation. “SFRS attended, and left the scene at 3.28am.”