Traverse announces first half of fiftieth anniversary season

Dec 19 2012 | By More

Big names and new among the highlights

Publicity image for Found at Sea

By Thom Dibdin

Well known playwrights and completely unknown writers are among the highlights of the Traverse’s 50th anniversary season, announced on Wednesday.

The season also includes new main stage work from David Greig and Rob Drummond, the return of lunchtime theatre with the sixth collaboration with Oran Mor’s Play, Pie and a Pint, and a conference series in April on new Scottish playwrights and play writing.

The season kicks off on January 26 with a reading of all 50 of the 500-word Plays for Edinburgh. The winning playwrights were picked from 630 entries from around the world, and come from Scotland, Wales, England, Ireland, Croatia and Australia.

Speaking about the Traverse Theatre’s 50th anniversary, artistic director Orla O’Loughlin and executive director Linda Crooks said, “We are honoured to be at the helm as the Traverse embarks on its 50th year. The Traverse was conceived in 1963 with a desire to present world class new work to the people of Edinburgh and beyond, and this still holds true today.

“This year our passion for new writing and commitment to presenting new work is as strong as ever and we are delighted to launch a Spring season jam packed with the very best theatre around. We are especially thrilled to be investing in 50 brand new theatrical voices with our Traverse Fifty project.”

The Traverse will produce two plays this season. Found at Sea is based on a new sequence of poems by novelist and poet, Andrew Greig, adapted and directed by David Greig. Starring Tam Dean Burn and Lewis Howden, this tale of two old friends’ micro odyssey to the Orkney archipelago began life as a rehearsed reading in the Traverse’s Herald Angel award-winning Dream Plays series at the 2012 Festival Fringe, and will be presented as a work in progress (19-23 Feb).

The second sees Rob Drummond return to the Traverse after his wildly-successful fringe hit, Bullet Catch, to make his main stage debut with Quiz Show. Directed by Traverse associate director Hamish Pirie, Quiz Show sees Drummond once again pushing the boundaries of popular culture in a piece questioning the nature of memory, truth and lies (2 – 20 April).

Traverse Theatre Company productions will go further afield this year as David Greig and Gordon McIntyre’s hit Midsummer [a play with songs] runs at the Clurman Theatre in New York. Since its 2008 debut, this Best of Edinburgh award winner has been seen across the UK and in Ireland, Canada and Australia (at the Clurman 10-26 Jan).

This year’s version of the Traverse’s flagship education project, Class Act, sees Edinburgh secondary schools working with Alan Bissett, Catherine Grosvenor, Stef Smith, Julia Taudevin and Alan Wilkins to write their first plays, which will be professionally produced on the Traverse stage (30 & 31 Jan).

The sixth-annual manipulate Visual Theatre Festival (3 – 16 Feb) is the biggest yet, growing from one to two weeks and packed with international puppetry, physical theatre and film. Highlights include Dutch puppeteer Neville Tranter, a feature film from The Brothers Quay and Vox Motus’ 2008 hit Slick. Later in the season the Imaginate festival of international performance for children and young people takes place 6-13 May.

The sixth Òran Mór and Traverse Theatre collaboration on A Play, a Pie and a Pint, includes plays by Lesley Hart, David Ireland, Sabrina Mahfouz and Douglas Maxwell. All four originated at the Traverse in the past year, from Words, Words Words to this year’s fringe breakfast theatre series, Dream Plays. The plays will be directed by Orla O’Loughlin and Hamish Pirie  and run between 19 Feb and 23 March.


Past, present and future are investigated by the University of Edinburgh, Traverse Theatre and Scottish Society of Playwrightswith a conference: 50 years of new playwriting (4 – 6 April), a week of play readings in Four Decades: Scottish Society of Playwrights (8 – 11 April) and a closing conference on the Future of Scottish Playwriting (12 April).

The CATS return to Edinburgh in June when the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland will be held at the Traverse, in the 10th anniversary of Scotland’s only awards ceremony dedicated to celebrating theatre in Scotland (9 June).

The visiting company programme of work for the Spring season includes Mull Theatre’s production of My Name is Rachel Corrie (2 March), Firebrand’s production of White Rose by Peter Arnott (13-16 March) and later on in the season his collaboration with Pepperdine University in Fringe First award-winning, Why Do you Stand There in the Rain (31 May & 1 June).

Lyceum Youth Theatre present their play for National Theatre Connections, What Are They Like?  by Lucinda Coxon (14 – 16 March) and there is a  double bill from Luke Barnes and Charlotte Josephine for Scrawl and Snuffbox (21 – 23 March). The Arches Platform 18: New Work Award brings plays from winners Peter McMaster and Amanda Monfrooe (1 – 3 May), Clerkinworks & Improbable co-produce The Bear (16 – 18 May) and Jenna Watt’s Fringe First winner Flâneurs gets a Traverse run (23 & 24 May).

Top Irish theatre companies return to the Traverse with Gare St Lazare’s Samuel Beckett’s First Love (23 – 25 May) and Blue Raincoat with Flann O’Brien’s The Poor Mouth (30 May – 1 June). Communicado team up with National Theatre of Scotland for David Harrower’s adaptation of Calum’s Road (6 – 8 June) and Some Other Mother by AJ Taudevin comes to the Traverse from Refugee Week Scotland in a co-production with the Tron (7 & 8 June).

Full list of Traverse Fifty attachments:

Colin Bell (Edinburgh); Kate Bowen (Glasgow); Michael Burnett (Edinburgh); Alison Carr (Newcastle upon Tyne);
Colin Clark (Glasgow); Grace Cleary (Livingston); Giles Conisbee (Pitlochry); Robert Dawson Scott (Glasgow); Jack Dickson (Glasgow); Sylvia Dow (Linlithgow); Dave Fargnoli (Edinburgh); Sophie Good (Edinburgh); Alan Gordon (Edinburgh); Caroline Gray (Putney); James Green (Newark on Trent); Kris Haddow (Paisley); Mose Hayward (Paris); Molly Innes (Edinburgh); Emily Jenkins (Meysey Hampton); Denise Keane (London); Najma Khanzada (Edinburgh); Deborah Klayman (Southall); Jamie Laing (Dundee); James Ley (Edinburgh); Jennifer Makie (Edinburgh); Bethan Marlow (Cardiff); Stuart Martin (London); Katy McAulay (Glasgow); John McCann (Edinburgh);  Martin McCormick (Glasgow); Nicholas Mcgaughey (Pontypridd); K S Morgan McKean (Glasgow);  Tara McKevitt (Dublin); Iain Mitchell (London); Uma Nada- Rajah (Edinburgh); Eva O’Connor (Edinburgh); Michael O’Neill (Glasgow); Dino Pesut (Zagreb); Lachlan Philpott (Sydney); Frances Poet (Glasgow); Tim Primrose (Edinburgh); Matthew Ramagge (Glasgow); Mark Robson (Edinburgh); Helen Shutt (London); Sam Siggs (Edinburgh); Ellie Stewart (Bathgate); J.A. Sutherland (Edinburgh); AJ Taudevin (Glasgow); Drew Taylor (Glasgow); Adam Usden (Cheadle).

Among these, notable names are Giles Conisbee who is press officer at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Robert Dawson Scott who is Scottish theatre critic for The Times, James Ley who runs the Village Pub Theatre at the Villager pub in Leith, and Tim Primrose, who created some fascinating work when a member of the Lyceum Youth Theatre.

This year-long attachment to the Traverse begins in January 2013 and the 50 writers will engage in a series of tailor-made writing events, including panel discussions, workshops and one-to-one dramaturgy. The project will culminate in a new writing festival in Autumn 2013, featuring work the 50 writers have developed throughout the year.  The Traverse will offer seed commissions to three of the writers at the end of 2013.

The project is funded by the City of Edinburgh Council. Cllr Richard Lewis, Culture & Sport Convener, said: “The Traverse Theatre is very special to us. It’s the home of new theatrical writing in Edinburgh and a source of fantastic international profile for the City. The Council is delighted to be joining the Theatre their 50th anniversary celebrations and supporting this colourful programme of events.”

Booking for all shows on 0131 228 1404 /


Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.