In a slightly desperate attempt at proving my credibility as a critic, I once did a little research into the history of the Traverse. More accurately, I picked up an out of date guide to the theatre from a charity book shop, and discovered that the Traverse had been at the front of the 1960s' revival of radical theatre. I felt proud, in much the same way as when I realise that a friend did something really cool before I met them.
The Traverse has never really given up on the "new" parts of theatre: they have a festival of new writing coming up in April. I quite often moan about scripts (mainly because I like to think of myself as Mr Physical Theatre), but I'll admit admiration for projects like this. It's probably the word "new" that helps, but they are making sure that we don't end up with more Shakespeare productions (not that I mind a little bit o' the bard but...)
Flicking through the line-up - trying to show off by proving that I know the writers, at least by reputation - I'm impressed by the range: Ursula Rani Sarma (who has the worst wikipedia entry I have ever seen but won a CATS award for best new play in 2010) jostles up with Rob Drummond (he beat me up once, metaphorically, during his promotion for Wrestling) and Peter Arnott, a veteran of 7:84 and determinedly political writer. And there is a world premier - Demos by Tim Price.
It makes sense - The Citizens has just had its first production under their ex-boss Dominic Hill, and his successor at the Trav, Orla O'Loughlin is making her first clear statement about the theatre's direction. It's ironic that there is something consoling and traditional that she is going for the new work: it is what the Traverse has always been about.
They are going to do more than just the rehearsed readings I expected - O'Loughlin seems rightfully excited about the off-piste possibilities. “Write Here is packed full of opportunities for anyone who wants to engage with new writing," she says. "We’re hosting special Open Views, chances to witness a writer, director and actors working on a text, panel discussions and workshops, one-to-one meetings with the Literary team and rehearsed readings of new work by established and emerging writers. We are delighted too to have some very exciting directors of new work for the stage joining us. Our final event will see us mount the World Premiere of Demos. This unique event, like this festival, is all about getting in on the action and playing a part in the future success of new writing here at the Traverse.”
Open Views breaks up the super secret process of script development - Arnott, Drummond and Morna Pearson are letting the audience into the action... hang on, the tickets for these events are £5. As long as Drummond doesn't get me in a headlock again, I'm there.
Listings Information with Vile notes
Open View and Rehearsed Readings
Too Far Gone by Rob Drummond
Director Hamish Pirie
Left Island, Scotland. Three years ago, over the space of nineteen days, twenty-six teenagers went over a cliff, one by one. Now, three couples and the island's only remaining policeman try to piece together what went wrong.
Drummond's been going from strength to strength lately: winning a CASTS award, working with The Arches to fulfil his childhood fantasy of beating up wrestlers, down with the NTS.
Open View 1: Mon 16 April (4pm)
Open View 2: Tues 17 April (4pm)
Rehearsed Reading: Tues 17 April (7.30pm)
The Artist Man and the Mother Woman by Morna Pearson
Director Roisin McBrinn
Forty-three year old art teacher Geoffrey still lives with his mother. He decides it's about time he got his first girlfriend.
Open View 3: Wed 18 April (4pm)
Open View 4: Thurs 19 April (4pm)
Rehearsed Reading: Thurs 19 April (7.30pm)
The Fly Room by Peter Arnott
Director Orla O’Loughlin
For the last year, Peter Arnott has been exploring the social implications of genomics, genetics and evolution. Join us as he takes the first steps towards a new play in creative response to how we understand ourselves, who we are, where we came from, and what we might become.
Arnott has always been tasty on the politics: he was part of that Glasgow generation who saw theatre as a viable medium for social discussion. This scientific direction is fascinating: I don't doubt he'll be getting to the moral implications of DNA discovery,
Open View 5: Fri 20 April (4pm)
Open View 6: Sat 21 April (4pm)
Rehearsed Reading: Sat 21 April (7.30pm)
Discover the next generation of Scottish playwriting talent and join us for rehearsed readings of plays by recent graduates of our Young Writers’ Group.
Tickets: £5 each
Dragon Mountain by Helene Cloete
Director Philip Howard
In a place where murder is an everyday occurrence, how can a family keep going?
Date & Time: Mon 16 April (2pm)
This Little Piggy by Jamie Laing
Director Sasha Kyle
An undercover policeman infiltrates a group of political protestors and finds his priorities challenged.
Kyle did an utterly charming site specific in Arches Live! a few years back - she has mostly been doing children's work lately (I think). I like the hint here that she is getting into the politics... isn't this based on a true story?
Date and time: Tues 17 April (2pm)
RSVP by Nichola Daunton
Director Tim Licata
The devil comes to dinner.
Date & time: Wednesday 18 April (2pm)
Dog Days by Rhiannon Grist
Director Adele Thomas
It's Cameron's Big Society and the big bad wolf is on the prowl. Only the strong will survive.
Date & time: Thurs 19 April (2pm)
The Dubai Papers by Uma Rajah
Director Annie George
A play about money, delusion and ahistoricism - an outcome of a bicycle trip to Dubai, which included a month's worth of research with the people who inspired the play.
Date & time: Fri 20 April (2pm)
Nightshifts by Dave Fargnoli
Director James Dacre
A & E in the wee small hours, and two women wait for news of the man they both love. A dark and dreamlike exploration of loss and longing, hope and helplessness.
Date & time: Sat 21 April (2pm)
Writers in the sunrise of their career talk about the first breaks that got them on the road to being professional playwrights. Colin Bell, Tawona Sithole, Lynda Radley and D C Jackson in conversation with Traverse Literary Officer Jennifer Williams
Date & time: Wed 18 April (7.30pm)
Going the Distance
Zinnie Harris, Gregory Burke, Ursula Rani Sarma each talk about their experience of a play they have written for the Traverse from conception to production, in conversation with Traverse Artistic Director, Orla O’Loughlin.
Date & time: Fri 20 April (7.30pm)
Traverse Theatre Company World Premiere
Demos by Tim Price
Director Hamish Pirie
In this new verbatim play, Tim Price presents an investigation of democracy that asks us to decide what sort of government is best. Written for a cast of over fifty, the audience will play a key role in the performance.
Tim Price is an award-winning stage and television writer. His play For Once runs at the Traverse this month, and elsewhere The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning opens as one of the highlights of National Theatre Wales current season.
Date & time: Tues 24 April (7.30pm)
Booking / 0131 228 1404