The Traverse Theatre began life in 1963 as a theatre club in an
abandoned brothel in Edinburgh's Lawnmarket. The theatre is so
named because its first Artistic Director, Terry Lane, mistakenly
believed that the staging arrangement is called 'traverse'. He
later realised that it is 'transverse' but it was already too well
known to change it.
In its first year of operation, a theatre conference was
organised by director Jim Haynes, John Calder and Kenneth Tynan.
Within three years of existence, the tiny theatre club had produced
110 productions, including 28 British premieres and 33 world
At the end of the 1960s, the Traverse moved to a larger space in
Edinburgh's Grassmarket, with flexible seating configurations. The
first performance in this venue was on 24 Aug 1969. In its early
days the theatre included exhibition space for the visual arts,
until 1966 when it was taken away to establish what became the
Richard Demarco Gallery.
In 1992, the Traverse moved to its current location at Cambridge
Street. A £3.3 million purpose-built two theatre space with bar
café was created as part of the Saltire Court development on Castle
Terrace. The theatre's first performance at this location was on 3