What’s This!

Jun 9 2016 | By More

What Now? It’s a Strange Town spectacular…

Edinburgh youth company Strange Town return to the Traverse this week for two nights of a double bill – a pair of plays created for and with the performers in the company by playwright Alan Gordon.

Gordon is one of the Traverse 50 – the group of 50 playwrights mentored by the Traverse during its fiftieth anniversary year. And surely with names like What Next? and What Now?, there must be common currency to the two plays.

Strange Town

Strange Town. Photo: Paul Johnston

“They are related,” agrees Strange Town’s co-creative director Steve Small. “Maybe not as related as we first envisaged. But thematically quite related.”

Staging the productions at the Traverse is a continuation and development of the work that Strange Town does to give its young people opportunities and a voice. They are also a continued building of the relationship between the company and the theatre.

Two other writers who work regularly with Strange Town, creating new scripts with the groups of young performers, were also part of the Traverse 50: Tim Primrose and Sam Siggs. And the Strange Town young company performed at the theatre in 2011 with Primrose’s Chow Mein and Hex by Primrose and Siggs.

It’s an important part of Strange Town’s way of working that the ideas in the plays come from the young people in their different groups working with both the playwright and their directors. In this case What Next? is performed by the company’s 14-16 year olds directed by Debs Hahn, and What Now? is performed by the 16-18 year olds under the direction of Amy Watt.

And although Small and his co-creative director Ruth Hollyman help shape the scripts, such a democratic process ensures that things never quite turn out as planned.

Small adds: “We began with the idea that the characters in the two plays would be linked or the same, with time passing between the end of play one, What Next?, and the start of What Now?.

“But this proved logistically tricky as the two casts went off in their own directions with their stories. This is what happens when you offer people their own choices and voices. They don’t do what you think they’ll do.”

What’s Next…

The Strange Town attitude is in further action over the next few weeks.

The action starts in Leith with a collaboration between the Young Company and Active Inquiry in Tales from the Hanging Captain. Set in a fictional Leith pub, the audience will be taken on a voyage through time, as stories of the Leith Dockers’ involvement in the whaling industry, the ‘Darrien Scheme’, and the strikes of 1913 unfold.

talesfromthehangingcaptainwpThe production initially plays at Out of the Blue as part of the Leith Festival (Thurs 16 – Sat 18 June) with two further performances during the fringe when OOtB becomes the Forest Fringe (Sat 13/Sun 14 Aug).

Then it is up to the Scottish Storytelling Centre where Sam Siggs is creating another bout of double action with a pair of plays which very definitely are connected. Playing twice (Fri 17 and Sat 18 June), the two plays: Multiverse: The Voices (performed by the Friday 11-14s youth theatre) and  Multiverse: The Rise of Alvin (performed by the Wednesday 11-14s youth theatre) both start from the same point.

Rory desperately wants to win the school ‘Battle of the Bands’. The only thing standing in his way is the fact his band is massively rubbish…in this universe. With the first 10 minutes of each play the same, each alters as the characters tumble into a new universe…

under the bed

On Saturday and Sunday 19, the 8-10s Youth Theatre are in action with Tim Primrose’ Monstor Force! Engage! Something is lurking under the bed. Mum and Dad are asleep. Who will battle the things that go bump in the night?

And finally, once again at the Storytelling Centre, on Monday 27 June the Strange Town Exchange Group has been thinking about what it means to be brave and has created Only The Brave for the National Theatre of Scotland’s Exchange Programme.

From dead men in suits of armour to coming out to your granny – the show takes a journey through our insecurities, ending up at the moment where we take centre stage. The show will go on to the MacRobert Arts Centre as part of the Exchange Festival on July 6.


What Next? / What Now?
The Traverse, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED
Friday 10/Saturday 11 June 2016
What Next?: 7pm; What Now?: 8.30pm.
Tickets and details: What Next?/What Now?

Tales from the Hanging Captain
Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 36 Dalmeny St, EH6 8RG
Thursday 16 – Saturday 18 June 2016
Evenings: 7.30pm; Matinees: Fri/Sat 3pm.
Tickets and details: Tales from the Hanging Captain/

Multiverse: The Voices / Multiverse: The Rise of Alvin
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR
Friday 17/Saturday 18 June 2016
The Voices: 7pm; The Rise of Alvin: 9pm.
Tickets and details: The Voices The Rise of Alvin

Monster Force! Engage!
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR
Saturday 18/Sunday 19 June 2016
Saturday 3pm; Sun 11.30am.
Tickets and details: Monster Force! Engage!

Only the Brave
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR
Monday 27 June 2016
Evening: 7.30pm.
Tickets and details: Only the Brave

Strange Town website: http://www.strangetown.org.uk/


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