Traverse Theatre announces January-April 2019 season

Home-grown Traverse productions Ulster AmericanWhat Girls Are Made Of and Locker Room Talk return ahead of touring the UK and internationally

  • World premieres by Vanishing Point and Lung Ha Theatre Company, plus Scottish premieres from Scottee, Off The Middle and more
  • Return of manipulate and NT Connections festivals 
  • Tickets on sale now

Traverse Theatre Company productions

As Scotland’s new writing theatre, the Traverse has been an incubator for brand new plays since it was founded in 1963, spotlighting the powerful stories, innovation and talent in Scotland, while launching the careers of many renowned writers, actors and directors. We are therefore excited to reveal that our January-April 2019 season is a celebration of this – with three home-grown productions returning for a special run, before travelling worldwide.

With queues for return tickets during Traverse Festival 2018 hours long, one of the most talked-about shows of the Edinburgh Fringe, the award-winningUlster American (20 Feb-2 Mar), written by David Ireland, returns by audience demand. Exploring abuses of power, the confusion of cultural identity and the silencing of the female voice in a confrontational and brutally funny way, it’ll see the much-praised original cast of Darrel D’Silva, Robert Jack and Lucianne McEvoy reprise their roles. The dates mark the productions only Scottish performances of 2019, before heading out on international tour toAdelaide Festival, Australia (13-17 Mar); Auckland Arts Festival, New Zealand (20-24 Mar); The Abbey, Dublin (10-20 Apr)and Lyric Theatre, Belfast (24-28 Apr). Directed by the Traverse’s Interim Artistic Director Gareth Nicholls.

Another resounding Edinburgh Fringe hit, the award-winning What Girls Are Made Of – a Raw Material co-production, in association with Regular Music –kicks off its Scotland and Northern Ireland tour at the Traverse (16-20 Apr), before heading to The MAC, Belfast (1-5 May); Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy (7 & 8 May); Dundee Rep, Dundee (14 & 15 May)and Macrobert, Stirling (17 & 18 May). Written and performed by Cora Bissett, it takes audiences back to 1992 to tell the autobiographical story of her extraordinary journey from Fife schoolgirl to indie rock star, performed with live backing band. Directed by the Traverse’s former Artistic Director Orla O’Loughlin.

Following overwhelming response from previous performances at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin; Latitude Festival, Suffolk; and The Scottish Parliament,Locker Room Talk, by Gary McNair, embarks on a Scottish tour to continue a vital conversation about misogyny and masculinity which has become even more urgent. You can catch it at the Traverse (23 & 24 Apr), between dates at Dundee Rep, Dundee (17 Apr); Macrobert, Stirling (18 Apr);Lemon Tree, Aberdeen (19 Apr); and Tron Theatre, Glasgow (25-27 Apr). Created in response to Donald Trump’s infamous “grab them by the pussy” comment, it is a provocative exploration of how men speak about women in men-only spaces, exploring how ingrained this sexually abusive rhetoric really is. Directed by the Traverse’s former Artistic Director Orla O’Loughlin.

 Elsewhere, A Play, A Pie and A Pint, Òran Mór (presented by Traverse Theatre) unveil a series of bite-sized lunchtime plays, featuring Chic Murray: A Funny Place for a Window (9-13 Apr) by Stuart Hepburn; Lion Lion (16-20 Apr) by Sue Glover; The Mack (23-27 Apr) by Rob Drummond;Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut (30 Apr-4 May) by Morag Fullarton; The Origins of Ivor Punch (7-11 May) by Colin MacIntyre; and Toy Plastic Chicken (14-18 May) by Uma Nada-Rajah. Ticket price includes a pie and a drink.

Visiting Company productions

Fuel Theatre’s The Dark (12 & 13 Feb), written by Nick Makoha, is our first visiting company production. A simmering and intense piece set in 1978 under the rule of Idi Amin, it follows the journey taken by a four-year-old boy and his mother to escape a city divided by dictatorship and consumed by conflict. Next up is good dog (14-16 Feb), a Tiata Fahodzi and Tara Finney Productions Scottish premiere, in association with Watford Palace Theatre. Set in the early 00s and spanning multiple characters, families and years, it tells the story of growing up in a multi-cultural community, fearlessly told by writer Arinzé Kene, who is currently experiencing huge success in London with his most recent piece, Misty.

February also includes Little Gift (15 & 16 Feb) – a brand new story for children from the multi-award-winning M6 Theatre and Andy Manley, told with exquisite puppetry by Shona Reppe and original live music and songs. Recommended for children three to seven years.

Taking us into March is the Scottish Premiere of Off The Middle’s In Other Words (1 & 2 Mar) – connected by the songs of Frank Sinatra, writer Matthew Seager’s intimate, humorous and moving love story explores the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and the transformative power of music. Soon after, Vanishing Point and A New International take over Traverse 1 with their brand new music and theatre spectacle, The Dark Carnival (6-9 Mar). Told through song, spoken word and Vanishing Point’s unmistakable imagery, it features 16 performers and musicians telling the story of newcomers to the afterlife who discover, to their surprise, that death is not the end. Co-produced by The Citizens Theatre and in association with Dundee Rep.

Winner of Papatango’s 10th annual New Writing Prize, Papatango and England Touring Theatre’s The Funeral Director (7-9 Mar) arrives here for its Scottish premiere – a timely exploration of a gay Muslim woman coming to terms with her identity, written by Iman Qureshi. Another Scottish premiere, created and directed by Scottee, in collaboration with choreographer Lea Anderson and ‘four fat blokes who’ve never done this sort of thing before’ is Fat Blokes (15 & 16 Mar) – a dance show of-sorts laying bare our perceptions of fat men.

Both here for a don’t-miss-it single date only are Scottish Dance Theatre’s Velvet Petal (23 Mar) and Brite Theater’s (Can This Be) Home (28 Mar). Choreographer Fleur Darkin’s fan favourite Velvet Petal comes to us in a new-to-Edinburgh version, exploring the transformative power of beauty created out of whatever is on the bedroom floor, set to a score of LCD Soundsystem, Spoek Mathambo and Four Tet. While Prague Fringe 2018 New Territories Award-winner (Can This Be) Home is half music gig, half spoken word, for which playwright and performer Kolbrún Björt Sigfúsdóttir examines the immigrant experience of the EU referendum, while flautist Tom Oakes plays tunes inspired by his travels as a musician. It’s an emotive examination of where we are now, performed on the eve of Brexit.

Rounding off March, and enjoying its World premiere, We Are All Just Little Creatures (28-30 Mar) celebrates the weird and wonderful things about being alive. Curious Seed join forces with Lung Ha Theatre Company, in association with Lyra, to present a visual and compelling ensemble production featuring professional dancers, live musicians, Lung Ha’s full performing ensemble and Lyra’s Delight Collectors. As part of the piece, the audience will be invited to contemplate and celebrate the diversity of our humanity.

Nudging into April, ThisEgg bring the Fringe First-winning dressed. (11-13 Apr) back to the city for three special dates. Told by four women who have been friends since school – ThisEgg Artistic Director Josie Dale-Jones, costume maker Lydia Higginson, singer Imogen Mahdavi, and choreographer Olivia Norris – it is the true story of how, after being stripped at gun point, Lydia gave herself one year to make all her own clothes. Combining direct address, original music, dance and live sewing, it explores the power clothes have to define, liberate, hide and embellish us.


Returning for 2019 is manipulate (2-12 Feb), bringing an eclectic programme of visual and physical theatre, puppetry, object manipulation and animated film from leading theatre artists and filmmakers across the globe, while NT Connections (17-20 Mar) is a celebration of young people, theatre-making and the importance of access to the arts. Elsewhere, Pass Out (25 Apr) present Edinburgh College’s Performing Arts Studio Scotland’s end of year showcase, creating new pieces on the theme of ‘Beautiful/Ugly’, while Soundhouse (various dates) offer a bigger than usual programme of music, which even sees them extend beyond their usual Traverse café bar space into Traverse 1 with blues singer Chris Smither.