Strange Town’s tidal trilogy

Mar 20 2024 | By More

Youth company celebrates 15th year with trilogy at Traverse

Youth company Strange Town is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and will be staging a trilogy of new plays, in the theme of Tides, performed by its young companies at the Traverse in June.

The new scripts are written by award-winning playwrights: Rachel O’Regan (Tide 1: It’s Not the End of the World), Isla Cowan (Tide 2: Adrift) and James Beagon (Tide 3: My Kind of Weird). The three interconnected plays are set around a huge hole in Portobello Beach in 2024 and each one follows on exactly 15 weeks from the previous story.

Steve Small and Ruth Hollyman who set up Strange Town in 2008. Portraits: Paul Johnston.

The company say that each play can be enjoyed as a standalone story. However, characters and events from previous plays trickle through to later offerings and will provide greater enjoyment to those who choose to watch all three parts.

The Tides trilogy is presented in order, one play every evening from Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 June 2024, before being presented back-to-back on Saturday 22 June.

Strange Town was set up by Ruth Hollyman and Steve Small. It focusses on allowing groups of young performers to create new works. For the youngest this means improvising on a theme, while more established groups work with a playwright to create a script.

New Writing

Besides its youth companies, Strange Town has set up a professional touring company which commissions new writing that looks at important issues and tours it to Secondary Schools. The company make a rare foray into the public domain, also at the Traverse in June, with Duncan Kidd’s Storm Lantern.

Strange Town also runs a professional agency which draws from the talent within the Youth Theatre (8-18s) and Young Company (18-25s) as well as representing some actors who have been spotted by one of the Strange Town team. Its actors are regularly cast in TV dramas and have appeared in the West End as well as in an Oscar-winning film.

Steve Small told Æ: “We are delighted that Strange Town is still here 15 years on from its start.

“From our first session with 20 young people in 2008, we would never have foreseen that Strange Town would grow into the company it is today with 11 drama sessions reaching over 200 young people aged 5-25 every week. We have produced over 100 new plays and now have our touring company and agency.

“This is down largely to the fantastic team at Strange Town and the support we have had and continue to have.”


Storm Lantern (Strange Town Touring Company)
Tue 4 – Thurs 6 June 2024
Evenings: 8pm (Trav 2).
The Strange Town Touring Company with Duncan Kidd’s play about Sophie Scholl. Caught by the Nazis distributing forbidden leaflets, she is facing execution. Only one route remains: confession and betrayal of everything she stood for… but will she take it? What would you be willing to die for? Book here.

Tide 1: It’s Not the End of the World (Strange Town)
By Rachel O’Regan, perf by Thursday 14-18s group
Wed 19 & Sat 22 June 2024

Wed: 7pm; Sat: 3pm (Trav 1).
February 2024 – Low Tide. Porty Beach: not only the perfect place to see a once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower, but also your ideal venue for a full-blown existential crisis. Whilst all of Edinburgh looks to the stars, rumours spread of an impending apocalypse; maybe the Mayans were a few years off! With overwhelming hopes, deep-seated fears, and empty bank accounts to be confronted, there’s only one thing for it – have some ‘special’ brownies (with chips on the side) and dig a massive hole. Book here.

Tide 2: Adrift (Strange Town)
By Isla Cowan, perf by Monday All Ages group
Thurs 20 & Sat 22 June 2024

Thurs: 7pm, Sat: 5pm (Trav 1).
June 2024 – Ebb Tide. It’s been 15 weeks since the huge hole appeared. 15 weeks since Anna went missing; they say she was last seen heading into the sea. Everyone wants to move on – except Jenny. When a message in a bottle washes up on Porty Beach, Jenny is convinced that Anna’s still out there and means to prove it. Despite the doubters, she plans to face the waves and join her friend…whatever the cost. Book here.

Tide 3: My Kind of Weird (Strange Town)
By James Beagon, perf by Tuesday 14-18s group
Wed 19 & Sat 22 June 2024

Fri: 7pm, Sat: 7pm (Trav 1).
September 2024 – High Tide. ‘She’ likes ‘her’, ‘they’re’ well over ‘him’, and ‘he’ doesn’t even know ‘they’ exist. Romantic rendezvous and excruciating entanglements collide in this new, almost-Shakespearean, anti rom-com. On the last day of sunshine that Edinburgh will see for some time, will romance be dead by sunset? Why is there STILL a massive hole on the beach? And will a message of love in a very timely bottle save the day? Book here.


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