Traverse exhibition highlights 50 years of risk

21 January 2013 ← return to listing

Traverse exhibition highlights 50 years of risk

(Image: a press cutting featuring the accidental stabbing of Colette O'Neil during the Traverse's opening performance of Huis Clos) 

Stabbings, falling-outs and artistic risks pepper our history, proved by The Traverse Theatre at 50 - an exhibition compiling a rich array of photos, press cuttings and programmes from our past 50 years. Edinburgh Libraries' exhibition captures the spirit of a daring theatre prepared to take chances on new work and new writers, without being afraid to raise a few eyebrows along the way.

Commentary by James Hogg charts the tempestuous relationship between the founding members of the Traverse, the highly publicised stabbing of a cast member on our opening night, and documents the history of challenging work for which we're known. From the production of Lay By in 1971, where pornography was distributed to the audience during the performance, to a staging of Futz, which depicted bestiality with a pig and attracted headlines such as "Filth on the Fringe", we've long been pushing boundaries.

Controversy aside, the exhibition focuses on the runaway successes of the Traverse - highlighting ground breaking work from Liz Lochhead, John Byrne, David Greig and many others, along with a host of Fringe First and Herald Angel awards come Festival time. Some famous faces make an appearance, too  -Tilda Swinton in Man to Man: A One Woman Show, and Robbie Coltraine in Slab Boys to name just a couple. And this is tip of the iceberg - across the exhibition, there's a wealth of gems from the Traverse archive that don't often see the light of day - catch it before it finishes next month.

The Traverse Theatre at 50 runs until 27 February, at the Central Library on George IV Bridge, Edinburgh. An online version is also available here


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