Traverse Theatre announces 2015 Festival Programme

02 June 2015 ← return to listing

Traverse Theatre announces 2015 Festival Programme

The Traverse Theatre is delighted to announce its 2015 Festival programme.

You can download or see our Traverse Festival programme here.

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Speaking about her fourth Festival programme as Artistic Director for the Traverse Theatre, Orla O'Loughlin said, "We have a bold and dynamic programme that once again marks the Traverse Festival out as the home of compelling, contemporary drama. Scottish work has an especially strong presence this year, with our own shows Swallow by Stef Smith and Crash by Andy Duffy leading the way alongside productions by theatrical innovators, Vanishing Point, the wonderful Gary McNair, National Theatre of Scotland and Zinnie and John Harris.

"Alongside artists brand new to the Traverse stage, such as the brilliant Bryony Kimmings, we are delighted to welcome back a number of long standing festival partners, and a special mention must go to our great friend Tim Crouch who celebrates the 10th anniversary of his mighty An Oak Tree by bringing it back to Traverse 1. In addition, we present the work of a number of thrilling international companies and writers all of which add to a timely examination of the complex times in which we live and what the future may hold. It is a privilege to curate such an exciting and eclectic mix of work from artists and companies who I trust will challenge, move and inspire our audience in true Traverse Festival style."

The first of three Traverse Theatre Company productions presented this Festival is the world premiere of Swallow, by Olivier award-winner Stef Smith. Directed by Traverse Theatre Artistic Director Orla O'Loughlin, Swallow takes a long hard look at the extremes of everyday life following Rebecca, Sam and Anna as they each struggle with their personal battles. Swallow features music by rising star singer/songwriter LAWholt, who has collaborated most recently with Mercury Prize-winning hip-hop trio,Young Fathers. With a cast of three women, celebrated female writer, director, designer and musician, women are front and centre in Swallow, which is performed as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase (9 - 30 Aug).

Gripping psychological drama, Crash, returns to the Traverse 2 stage after a critically-acclaimed run in the Traverse Theatre's A Play, A Pie and A Pint  season in November 2014. Directed by Traverse Associate Artist Emma Callander, written by emerging playwright Andy Duffy and starring Jamie Michie, best known as Steelshanks in HBO's Game of Thrones, Crash is the story of an enigmatic trader attempting to rebuild his life following a tragic event. Nominated for Best New Play at CATS Awards 2015 (7 - 30 Aug).

The Traverse Breakfast Plays series brings an international flavour to the menu this Festival. Six plays from Turkey, Canada, Scotland, Egypt, China and Ukraine will premier as part of the popular script-in-hand breakfast slot. Curated by recently appointed Traverse Associate Director, Zinnie Harris, the six commissioned writers are Berkun Oya (Turkey), François Archambault (Canada), Linda McLean (Scotland), Laila Soliman (Egypt), Nick Rongjun Yu (China) and Natalia Vorozhbyt (Ukraine). Each Traverse Breakfast Play has only two performances on the same day over the last two weeks of the Festival (18 - 30 Aug).

The Theatre's main house, Traverse 1, sees the welcome return of Gate Theatre with the UK premiere of The Christians written by Lucas Hnath and directed by Christopher Hayden. A remarkable exploration of faith and community in the modern world, this production asks profound questions about what we believe and why. From the team behind 2013 Festival hit, Grounded, The Christians cast includes William Gaminara, Jaye Griffiths and Lucy Ellinson (9 - 30 Aug).

Ten years after it first opened at the Traverse Theatre, Tim Crouch returns with An Oak Tree, a ground-breaking Obie and Herald Angel Award-winning production by one of the UK's most original theatre-makers. An intricate story of loss and suggestion performed by the playwright himself and a different second actor at each performance - an actor who has neither seen nor read a word of the play until they're in it - An Oak Tree has played over 300 times all over the world, with over 300 different actors (9 - 16 Aug).

A major international co-production, Glasgow-based company Vanishing Point bring critically-acclaimed Tomorrow, a striking meditation on growing old, dementia, needing care and needing to care. Conceived and directed by Matthew Lenton, the cast for Tomorrow features actors from Scotland (Jenny Hulse, Samuel Keefe, Peter Kelly and Stephen Docherty), England (Elicia Daly and Mercy Ojelade), Russia (Aleksandra Kuzenkina) and Brazil (William Ferreira) and is performed as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase (12 - 30 Aug).

In a co-production, National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre bring the world premiere of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. Directed by Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone and adapted by Billy Elliot author, Lee Hall, this musical play based on Alan Warner's novel The Sopranos sees six girls on the cusp of change with love, lust, pregnancy and death all spiralling out of control in a single day (19 - 30 Aug).

This year, the Traverse Theatre also welcomes two shows from Irish companies. Corn Exchange, in association with Cusack Projects, brings the highly-praised A Girl is a Half-formed Thing following the inner narrative of a girl from the womb to twenty with vivid intensity. She is a character of astonishing resilience and intelligence, someone determined to make sense of things amidst the crushing Catholicism and deprivation of her Irish childhood. Based on Eimear McBride's original novel, it is adapted and directed by Annie Ryan and stars Aoife Duffin (9 - 30 Aug). Directed by Gina Moxley, Rough Magic presents the UK premiere of How to Keep an Alien written by Sonya Kelly. This is a funny, tender autobiographical tale in which Irish Sonya and Australian Kate meet and fall in love, but Kate's visa is up and she must leave the country. Together they must find a way to prove to the Department of Immigration that they have the right to live together in Ireland (7 - 30 Aug).

The Theatre's studio space, Traverse 2, will host the European premiere of Fake it 'til you Make It  from writer and performance artist, Bryony Kimmings. Made in collaboration with her partner Tim Grayburn, Fake it 'til you Make It is a wickedly warm and honest piece about clinical depression, being in love and what it takes to be a 'real man'. Performed as part of the British Council Showcase (7 - 30 Aug).

Following 2014's award-winning show, Donald Robertson is Not a Stand-Up Comedian, writer and performer Gary McNair returns to the Traverse Theatre with an intergenerational tale of what we live for and what we leave behind. A Gambler's Guide to Dying is the story of one boy's granddad who won a fortune betting on the 1966 World Cup and, when diagnosed with cancer, gambled it all on living to see the year 2000. Performed as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase (7 - 30 Aug).

The 2015 Traverse Festival sees the welcome return of writer, director and performer Valentijn Dhaenens with the UK premiere of Pardon / In Cuffs. From the creators of BigMouth and SmallWar, this three-hander unravels the complex relationship between culprit and judge. Through a series of tense exchanges Pardon / In Cuffs  tells a story of 'little people' clashing with massive structures with, on one side, a criminal caught in the act and, on the other, a public prosecutor with their verdict (7 - 30 Aug).

In the late night slot, Unlimited Theatre presents the Scottish premiere of Am I Dead Yet?Performed by Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe, Am I Dead Yet? is filled with stories and songs about death and dying, and about how we don't talk about it enough. Two friends talk and sing about what happens when we die, how we think about dying and, most importantly, how some of us might be brought back. This brand new show was inspired by research into contemporary developments in resuscitation science, and made in collaboration with Emergency Care professionals. Performed as part of the British Council Showcase (19 - 30 Aug).

Award-winning Belgian company, Ontroerend Goed returns to the Traverse with experimental theatre piece, A Game of You.  The third in a trilogy following The Smile Off Your Face and Internal  (Festival 2010), A Game of You  takes six audience members through a succession of rooms and asks each person about their life and about a fellow audience member before the tables are turned, and it is another person's turn to pass judgment. A show for people watchers, the audience is asked to hold up a mirror to themselves, whether they like the comments they get or not (25 - 30 Aug).

Australian company, one step at a time like this, returns to the Traverse with Forever Young, a look at youthful idealism. The creators of international hiten route (Festival 2010) invite an audience member to sit in a reclining chair in the Traverse Foyer and await a phone call before embarking on a foolhardy outdoor adventure with a teenage accomplice (19 - 30 Aug).

Based on an original short play of the same name by Zinnie Harris, which was commissioned by the Traverse Theatre in 2009, the operatic version of The Garden takes place off site. The audience is asked to meet at the Traverse Theatre Meeting Point before ushers lead them to the venue for this dystopian tale of a couple at the end of their tether. Winner of a Scotsman Fringe First Award as part of The World Is Too Much season, The Garden was commissioned by sound, premiered in Aberdeen in 2012, and is performed as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase (18 - 30 Aug).

Engagement and debate remain key at this year's Festival. Playwrights' Studio, Scotland present TalkFest 2015, a series of inspirational discussions with leading writers and theatre-makers involved in this year's wider Festival Fringe, including Rob Drummond, Zinnie Harris, Alan McKendrick and Lou Prendergast. TalkFest 2015 is presented as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase (10 & 17 Aug).

A unique collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, Traverse Theatre and the Playwrights' Studio, Scotland has resulted in Pre: View, four readings from four brand new plays by four emerging writers from across Europe (10 & 17 Aug). The Traverse welcomes back the James Tait Black Prize for Drama, judged by students and academics of Edinburgh University, as well as representatives from the National Theatre of Scotland and the Traverse Theatre (24 Aug).

David Greig, Sarah Beattie-Smith and Christopher Silver bring a political spirit to Monday mornings with Two Minute Manifesto. After launching the idea at the Traverse Theatre on the day of the General Election, this political podcast returns for three performances full of ideas, politics and culture. Guests are given two minutes to present their single most important idea for creating a better world, and then the audience casts their vote (10, 17 & 24 Aug). 


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