Wake up!

Jun 10 2019 | By More

Strange Town looks to the future for its tenth anniversary

Edinburgh youth company Strange Town is taking to the Traverse stage this week with a pair of new plays loosely inspired by the theme of The Future, but both going in very different directions.

In keeping with Strange Town’s philosophy, which ensures the young participants are involved in all stages of creating a play, both plays were written by the playwrights in collaboration with the young actors who would be performing them.

Asiyah Williams and Nicholas Troy in Stolen Futures. Pic Paul Johnston

Asiyah Williams and Nicholas Troy in Stolen Futures. Pic: Paul Johnston

Little Boxes is an exploration of mental health and societal pressure on teenagers. It was developed by the cast of actors aged 14-18 with writer and director Catherine Exposito. It takes place over 12 months, with a series of bite-sized scenes exploring situations that today’s young people find themselves having to cope with – or not.

Stolen Futures, by award-winning playwright James Beagon, explores what it means to live in a future stolen by the past. Set in an airport at the end of the world, where only children and young people have survived, the play asks whether there is more to life than simply being alive. This will be the Traverse debut for Strange Town’s first company of actors to span the ages 8 to 18.

As Strange Town celebrates its tenth anniversary Ruth Hollyman, who founded the company with her co-creative director Steve Small, gave Æ some insight to the way the company helps writers work with their young companies to create a new piece of work.


The process starts loosely. In this instance, Hollyman and Small simply gave both writers the theme of The Future and let them run with it.

“With Stolen Futures, James came into our rehearsals for a previous show last September, to get an idea of the young performers he would be writing for,” Hollyman says.

“Once he’d written a first draft, we then had a read through and the young people gave their feedback. He went away and wrote another draft. Steve and I acted as dramaturgs and made suggestions for further edits.

“With Little Boxes, Catherine as writer and director has worked weekly with her cast since end of August to create the script they are now rehearsing. Steve and I again were dramaturgs – advising and suggesting changes.”

Hollyman will be directing Stolen Futures herself and says that it ties in perfectly with Greta Thunberg’s recent speeches about young people having their future stolen.

“At a time when young people are working hard to make world leaders sit up and take action on the climate crisis, Stolen Futures could not be more pertinent,” she says. “It offers yet another warning from the perspective of young people about how important the actions of today’s adults are; not only for young people today, but for the generations to come.

“This mixed age cast of talented performers have worked extremely hard over the last few months to breathe life into these characters and create a powerful, energised production. The message is clear – wake up world and listen to your young people; they are your future!”

Both productions, which are being staged separately, offer the chance to glimpse not just Edinburgh’s young stars in action but also their thoughts for the future, as interpreted with two of Edinburgh’s up-and-coming playwrights.

Listings and links

Little Boxes
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED.
Friday 14 – Sat 15 June 2019
Evening: 7pm.
Tickets and details:  Book here.

Stolen Futures
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED.
Friday 14 – Sat 15 June 2019
Evening: 8.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.

Strange Town website: http://strangetown.org.uk/
Facebook: @strangetowntheatre
Twitter: @infoStrangeTown
Instagram: @strangetownco


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