O’Loughlin quits Traverse

Jul 4 2018 | By More

Traverse AD heads to London Guildhall

Orla O’Loughlin has announced that she is to leave her post as artistic director of the Traverse this autumn with her last directing role as Traverse AD being Kieran Hurley’s Mouthpiece, opening December 1.

She will take up the role of vice-principal and director of drama at London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama from January 2019. A spokesperson for the Traverse told Æ that she will be working between the two organisations from the autumn.

Orla O'Loughlin who is leaving the Traverse in the autumn of 2018.

Orla O’Loughlin. Pic: Aly Wight

O’Loughlin joined the Traverse in January 2012 from Pentabus Theatre where she had been artistic director since 2007. Her first show at the Traverse was the Scottish premiere production of For Once by Tim Price, which she had already directed for Pentabus at the Hamstead theatre.

In 2013, the Traverse’s 50th anniversary year, O’Loughlin created the Traverse 50 programme of 50 budding playwrights from around the world who engaged in a series of tailor-made writing events, including panel discussions, workshops and one-to-one dramaturgy.

Over her seven years at the helm of the Traverse, O’Loughlin has overseen 70 Traverse Theatre Company productions and co-productions, welcomed over 300 partner organisations and touring companies to the theatre which has been visited by almost 450,000 audience members.

Speaking of her time at the Traverse, O’Loughlin said: “I’m incredibly proud of the work we have produced, the writers we have developed, and all of the awesome companies we have programmed – and I am especially delighted by the international impact our plays and their writers have had on audiences around the world.”

dual passions

O’Loughlin says that in taking up her new post she will be combining her dual passions of theatre and education. She also speaks of her possible future relationship to the Traverse in positive terms.

She says: “I’m looking forward to developing new ways to work with the Traverse to continue the discovery and development of the brightest new talent. And, of course, I’ll look forward to engaging with the brilliant and compelling work I know the Traverse will continue to create and champion.”

Over her time at the Traverse, O’Loughlin has directed some memorable and notable work. These include productions such as Locker Room Talk, Grain in the Blood, Milk, Girl in the Machine, Swallow, Ciara, Spoilingand Meet Me at Dawn.

Sir John Elvidge, Chair of the Traverse’s Board of Trustees added: “We are immensely grateful for the hard work and creative vision Orla has invested in the Traverse in her time here, and we are extremely proud of what we have achieved together.

“We wish her great success in her new role and look forward to exploring new ways of working together to expand the Traverse’s work as the home of creativity and dynamic new work in Scotland.”

As well as directing Kieran Hurley’s Mouthpiece, O’Loughlin is working with Cora Bissett on her autobiographical play What Girls Are Made Of which she is directing during EdFringe 2018. During the fringe she is also doing live interviews with Julie Hesmonhalgh (Aug 13) and Mark Thomas (Aug 20) for a future podcast.


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