The Traverse is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has just announced its Fringe line-up which includes four world premieres, five UK premieres and one Scottish premieres.


The Traverse presents four productions by acclaimed writers David Harrower, Tim Price, Sabrina Mahfouz and Douglas Maxwell

50 Plays for Edinburgh. Image by Becky McGannThe Traverse Fifty will be celebrated with a special presentation of 50 Plays for Edinburgh

From Monday 29 July – Saturday 31 August, 2013

The Traverse will host in total eighteen shows and events: with four World Premieres, five UK Premieres, one Scottish Premiere, and a special presentation celebrating The Traverse Fifty.

Continuing its long established tradition of innovation and risk taking, The Traverse presents this carefully curated Festival of ground-breaking new work across five weeks this summer.

During this most significant year, Artistic Director for the Traverse Theatre, Orla O’Loughlin commented, “Embodying the spirit of the Festival all year round, The Traverse continues to be a unique landmark on Edinburgh’s cultural landscape and is the beating heart of new work in Scotland. During August we celebrate this milestone in the way we know best, by producing and programming the finest new work from around the globe for our dedicated festival audiences. This year we’ve carefully curated some of the most compelling challenging, world-class work on offer. This is a body of work deeply bound up in the political realities of 2013: by turns personal and societal, local and international, intellectual and emotional.”

Ciara Final image by Eoin Carey

One of the five Traverse Theatre Company productions presented this Festival is the World Premiere of Ciara, by award-winning playwright David Harrower. A co-production with Datum Point Productions, Ciara reunites one of Scotland’s greatest writers with one of our finest actresses, Blythe Duff, following their recent collaboration on the internationally successful Traverse production Good With People. Directed by Traverse Artistic Director, Orla O’Loughlin, it is bound up in the landscape of Glasgow, an epic story of our times. Ciara’s father Mick, kept her as his treasure. He wanted his only daughter shielded from what he did. Now Mick is dead and his legacy must be faced, and Ciara stands on a threshold, (1-25 Aug).


The Traverse’s second World Premiere this Festival, I’m With the Band by Tim Price, is a Traverse Theatre Company and Wales Millennium Centre co-production. Directed by Traverse Associate Director, Hamish Pirie, it reunites writer Tim and Hamish, who were Olivier-nominated for their last collaboration Salt Root and Roe. Featuring live music, it is a vivid, playful and timely exploration of the break-up of an indie band, comprising an Englishman, a Northern Irishman, a Scotsman and a Welshman, which just happens to be called The Union. Performed as part of the British Council Edinburgh Showcase, (2-25 Aug). 

Theatre at breakfast is back on the menu this Festival. Back by popular demand are two acclaimed Traverse Theatre Company productions which were developed last year as part of the Herald Angel award-winning Dream Plays series: A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity by Douglas Maxwell, recently nominated for a CATS Award for Best New Play, (13, 15, 17, 20, 22 & 24 Aug), complemented by the razor-sharp Clean, by award-winning poet and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz, (14, 16, 18, 21, 23 & 25 Aug).
As well as honouring its illustrious past, The Traverse continues its commitment to the next generation of playwriting talent. In celebration of their 50th anniversary they have invited fifty emergent playwrights to work with them over the course of their birthday year. In January these 50 Plays for Edinburgh were premiered altogether, and this Festival the Traverse will re-stage these extraordinary plays over two thrilling nights, (30 & 31 Aug).

Traverse Theatre Breakfast Plays. Image by CakeAnother of Scotland’s greatest writers, David Greig, returns to The Traverse with the World Premiere of The Events, directed by Ramin Gray, with music composed by John Browne, and featuring local choirs. An Actors Touring Company, Young Vic Theatre, Brageteatret and Schauspielhaus Wien co- production, this daring new play explores the impact of a horrific, politically motivated crime on a small community and delves into the nature of forgiveness, reconciliation and understanding, (31 Jul – 25 Aug).

The Theatre’s main house, Traverse One, also plays host to writer, director, actor and Fringe First award-winning Omphile Molusi with the UK Premiere of this political and personal drama Cadre. A South African tale of transition from one state of governing to a new order, it is a story of dreams and change, (29 Jul – 25 Aug). Making its Traverse debut, acclaimed company Theatre O presents the World Premiere of The Secret Agent, prior to a London run at the Young Vic. Inspired by the classic Conrad novel, and created by Matthew Hurt and the company, this political conspiracy tale is set at a time of social upheaval and growing disparity between rich and poor , (6 – 25 Aug).

Fresh from winning the coveted 2013 Ted Hughes poetry award, performance poet and spoken word artist Kate Tempest presents Brand New Ancients, an epic spoken word performance blurring the lines between poetry and theatre, accompanied by live music. A Kate Tempest/Battersea Arts Centre co-production, developed alongside audiences through the Scratch process, it is being performed for the first time in Scotland as part of the British Council Showcase season, (20 – 25 Aug).

The Theatre’s studio space, Traverse Two, plays host to two shows from Irish companies. Ireland’s national theatre company, The Abbey Theatre, presents Quietly by Owen McCafferty, a powerful story about truth and forgiveness. Nominated for an Irish Times Theatre Award for Best New Play, it will make its UK Premiere this Festival, directed by Jimmy Fay, and starring Declan Conlon, Patrick O’Kane and Robert Zawadzki, (1 – 25 Aug). The innovative Dublin based Brokentalkers will make its Fringe debut with Have I No Mouth, devised by Feidlim Cannon and Gary Keegan. A highly theatrical, funny and heart-breaking documentary theatre performance written and performed by real life mother and son Ann and Feidlim Cannon, it explores the changing nature of their relationship in the aftermath of a family tragedy, (1 – 25 Aug).

Scottish company Fire Exit makes its Traverse debut with Long Live The Little Knife, written and directed by multi award-winning ‘theatrical maverick’ David Leddy. It began life as a mini-commission for the Royal Shakespeare Company in the British Museum and was so well received the characters return for this full-length escapade. An absurd and uplifting theatre piece about forgery, castration and blind drunkenness, it stars Wendy Seager and Neil McCormack. Presented as part of the Made In Scotland programme, (1 – 25 Aug).

The internationally-acclaimed theatre performance company Ontroerend Goed return to The Traverse with Fight Night, by Alexander Devriendt and the cast. This UK Premiere, presented by Belgium’s multiple Fringe First-winning company and Border Project, puts the power in the hands of the audience each night as it makes elections a theatrical game, (1 – 25 Aug). The Gate Theatre, Notting Hill makes its Festival debut with Grounded by George Brant, and directed by Christopher Haydon. Starring Lucy Ellinson as The Pilot, Grounded won the 2012 Smith Prize from the National New Play Network in America, and targets our assumptions about war, family, and what it is to be a woman, (1 – 25 Aug).

Engagement and debate remain key this year at the Festival: Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland will present TalkFest 2013, a series of inspirational discussions with leading writers and theatre-makers involved in this year’s Festival. TalkFest 2013 is presented as part of the Made in Scotland showcase, (12 & 19 Aug).

A unique collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, Traverse Theatre and the Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland, Pre-View, will result in four readings from four brand new plays by four emerging writers from across Europe (12 & 19 Aug). The Traverse will also play host to the James Tait Black Prize for Drama, judged by students and academics of Edinburgh University, as well as representatives from the National Theatre Scotland and Traverse Artistic Director, Orla O’Loughlin, (5 Aug).

Fringe First, Herald Angel and Spirit of the Fringe award-winning, political, Theatre Uncut return with a brand new collection of short plays which aim to get people talking about and tackling the issues facing us today, (5, 12 & 19 Aug).