The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Edinburgh and the Traverse Theatre will commission a play on or inspired by any aspect of the Institute’s current interests. The stipend will be £10,000 and the recipient will have a private office and full Fellowship at IASH, and contribute to the Institute’s events, including giving at least one work-in-progress seminar during the tenure of the Fellowship. During the period of the Fellowship the playwright will receive dramaturgical support from the Traverse’s Literary Department. The recipient must be Edinburgh-based for the duration of the residency, as their regular presence at IASH is expected and they will be encouraged to play a part in the artistic life of the theatre.
The tenure of the Fellowship will be between 6 and 10 months, by agreement, with the intention that the playwright will submit a complete play to the Traverse at the end of 2020.
The ideal candidate will be a writer who wants to engage actively with the Traverse and is eager to make the most of the unique environment that IASH provides to further their thinking and develop their work. For more information about IASH, please visit iash.ed.ac.uk.
- Jo Clifford (2010) and Linda McLean (2011) were both writing on aspects of the life, work and legacy of David Hume, as part of the 2011 celebrations to mark the tercentenary of the birth of David Hume. Jo’s play The Tree of Knowledge, written during the Fellowship, was performed at the Traverse Theatre in December 2011.
- The theme for 2012-13 was “Difficult Dialogues”. Pamela Carter was in residence in the autumn of 2012 and Iain Finlay Macleod in Spring 2013.
- Clare Duffy was in residence from September 2014 to May 2015, working on her play Arctic Oil.
- Peter Arnott was the 2017 Fellow, working on his play Variant.
- Frances Poet was the 2018 Fellow, working on her play Still.
- Lewis Hetherington is the 2019 Fellow, working on his play Deep Time.
IASH is a precious island of intelligent, creative, and free discourse. It's an intellectual community in the very best sense of the word: an amazing and astonishing space to write a play in.
The work I've done here includes the final draft of Melody (produced by the Traverse Theatre); a rough first draft of a new play called The Gypsy Grave; an adaptation of an American novel I've titled Mancub and the first act of a play called If Destroyed True (Paines Plough commission) which is the most directly inspired piece from my time here. It's a lot of work, about double what I would normally achieve in the time frame.
My time at IASH was extremely productive and memorable. A really special period when I rediscovered the process of writing a play at a desk, which just so happened to be exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. I really valued the cross-pollination process through the IASH structure of lunches and work-in-progress sharings and I felt that my place as a creative writer was of interest as well to the other fellows.
The Traverse Theatre
As Scotland’s new writing theatre, the Traverse Theatre is a dynamic centre for performance, experience and discovery, often referred to as Edinburgh’s ‘beating heart of the Fringe’ in August. Enabling people across society to access and engage with theatre is our fundamental mission.
Our year-round programme bursts with new stories and live performances that challenge, inform and entertain. We empower artists and audiences to make sense of the world today, providing a safe space to question, learn, empathise and – crucially – encounter different people and experiences. Conversation and the coming together of groups are central to a democratic society, and we champion equal expression and understanding.
We commission, produce and programme for existing and future audiences to offer new and exciting experiences for everyone, and our partnerships with other theatre companies and festivals enable us to present a wide range of innovative performances.
The Traverse would not exist without our over-arching passion for talent development and embracing the unexplored. We work with the newest and rawest talent – with an emphasis on the Scottish-based – nurturing it to become the art, artists and performances that can be seen on our stages through a variety of creative learning and literary programmes.
The timely, powerful stories that start life on our stages have global impact, resulting in dozens of tours, productions and translations. We are critically acclaimed and recognised the world over for our originality and artistic risk, which we hope will create some of the most talked-about plays, productions, directors, writers and actors for years to come.
The application process is now open.
We encourage ideas from writers that want to actively engage with both the Institute's interests and the Traverse Theatre's desire to entertain, excite, provoke and delight audiences alike - whether through a brilliant story, an innovative new form or use of technology, or with a striking new theatrical concept.
Please send a cover letter and CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Friday 29 November 2019. Interested applicants are invited to put in writing why they would like to take up this Fellowship and what they would like to explore in their commissioned play. Applications should demonstrate an awareness of the work and ethos of the Traverse and IASH, and a sense of how the writer and their work might fit into this. Applicants should have had a minimum of two professional productions of their work. Interviews will be held in central Edinburgh on Wednesday 11 December 2019.
For more information about IASH, please visit iash.ed.ac.uk.