During a successful 70th Fringe, with total audience numbers reaching just short of 40,000 across nearly 300 production performances, the Traverse Theatre delivered a defiant programme representing narratives that are often silenced or side-lined and receiving a clutch of awards.
There was a trio of Fringe First awards forLetters to Morrissey, Nassim and Adam; two Herald Angel awards Adam and Zinnie Harris, a Scottish Arts Club Award for Adam; a Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award for The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk; plus an Amnesty Freedom of Expression shortlist for Adam; a Total Theatre Award shortlist for Wild Bore and a Holden Street Theatres award shortlist for Locker Room Talk.
No sooner are these garnered than we have a new Autumn/Winter season to anticipate, where representation and inclusivity is represented in its myriad forms.
Marking his first main stage production since joining the Traverse as Associate Director in June this year, Gareth Nicholls will direct the world premiere of award-winning play How to Disappear winner of the Catherine Johnson Award for ‘Best Play’, by Traverse Associate Artist Morna Pearson who returns to the Traverse following the success of The Artist Man and the Mother Woman.
Nicholls says, “I’m absolutely delighted to be directing Morna Pearson’s award- winning play How to Disappear as my first Traverse main stage production. This blisteringly funny piece combines a thrilling mix of magic realism, black humour and biting social commentary to explore how people disappearing on the fringes of society survive. … I’m relishing the opportunity to present it to audiences this Christmas.”
Choreographer Gary Clarke brings a powerful piece of dance theatre about life at the coal face with Coal and 30 years since its UK premiere at the Traverse, a new adaptation of Manfred Karge’s Man to Man, memorably starring Tilda Swinton, tells the story of a woman forced to adopt the identity of her dead husband to survive.
The Coolidge Effect uses a blend of storytelling, poetry and science to examine how pornography affects our mental health; while Damned Rebel Bitches celebrates the independent, risk-taking women of the war years’ generation, performed by an international and intergenerational cast aged 30-75 and Dive Queer Party returns for special Halloween and Christmas themed events.
Co-productions will include Jury Play, with Grid Iron where Traverse 1 will be turned into a courtroom, where audience members will be given the opportunity to ‘opt in’ to the jury, and Our Fathers with Magnetic North that explores belief and how to disagree with someone you love from Traverse Associate Artist Rob Drummond and Magnetic North’s Artistic Director Nicholas Bone, both sons of clergyman.
Following her 2013/14 CATS Award for ‘Best Production for Children and Young People’ and her 2016/17 CATS Award for ‘Best Design’ for last year’s festive family smash-hit, Black Beauty, Shona Reppe returns to Traverse 2 with a Christmas production of the double award-winning Cinderella. This production will include a ‘Relaxed Performance’, that is part of the Traverse principle of being open and accessible to all that includes the launch of a new under-30s ticket type, aimed at increasing theatre access to young people.
The season ahead sees the education project, Class Act, travels to India to work in partnership with RAGE Theatre, Mumbai for Class Act Mumbai, that is part of the British Council’s UK/India 2017 Season and is supported by the British Council, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government. During January 2018, Scottish playwrights and directors will be collaborating with Indian artists to inspire school-aged young people from Mumbai to write their own short-plays.
At home, Edinburgh Class Act 2017 will this year include a Gaelic class from James Gillespie’s High School for the very first time with the support of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and National Theatre of Scotland, along with Drummond High School, Liberton High School and The Royal High School. Pupils will work with acclaimed Scottish playwrights, before having their work showcased on the Traverse stage in late November.
Connecting with themes relating to the social care system in How to Disappear , and marking the beginning of a new relationship, the Traverse will connect with young people from Edinburgh Young Carers in a large scale collaborative arts project due to begin in early 2018.
Returning in September is Traverse Young Writers that focusses on supporting emerging talent in young people aged 18-25 as well as a new Writers’ Group, led by Zinnie Harris, with the aim of connecting with writers representing a diverse range of experience and stories.
This year’s Open Submissions window is opened until 30th September. For full details please go to: https://www.traverse.co.uk/writing/open-script-submissions/