Traverse Theatre announces new podcast format 2020 Breakfast Plays

News 6 Aug 2020

Today we announce that one of the most-loved elements of our annual Traverse Festival programme, the Breakfast Plays, will be produced this year as a series of podcast episodes, Breakfast Plays: New Tracks.


Traditionally taking place at 9am during the Traverse Festival (and enjoyed with a breakfast roll), the bite-sized Breakfast Plays are a key element of the Traverse’s talent development programme for writers, bringing brand new short plays by early career writers, who are often alumni of the theatre’s Young Writers Group, to the world and showcasing the best new Scottish writing talent to the international audiences who flood Edinburgh in August.

Each writer is provided with dramaturgical support from the Traverse’s Artistic Team to evolve their play, which is then directed by a professional director and performed by professional actors. As well as receiving the opportunity to share their work with an international Festival audience, writers also receive invaluable audience and industry feedback to help them develop their skills even further.

Though a selection of previous Breakfast Plays have been broadcast on the BBC World Service, 2020 marks the first time that the plays have been written specifically for an audio format and been made available to global audiences on demand, so that Breakfast Plays: New Tracks can become the Lunch Plays, or Dinner Plays, or be enjoyed at any other time the listener would like.

As in 2018 and 2019, several of the 2020 plays will be by writers who have previously been part of the organisation’s acclaimed Young Writers Group programme. Each will tell a different story of the next step after an earth shattering event occurs, ranging from a former cult leader whose past comes back to haunt them, a murdered young woman who seeks revenge from the afterlife, and the very breakdown of time itself, amongst others.


The five writers of this year’s Breakfast Plays: New Tracks, who are based throughout Scotland, are Jamie Cowan (Carnock), Rebecca Martin (Inverness), Amy Rhianne Milton (Edinburgh), Uma Nada-Rajah (Kirknewton) and Conor O'Loughlin (Glasgow).

The plays are directed by the Traverse Theatre’s Co-Artistic Directors Gareth Nicholls and Debbie Hannan. Sound design is by Kim Moore, Oğuz Kaplangi and Mwen and the sound engineer is Richard Bell.

The cast are Karen Fishwick, Robbie Jack, Reuben Joseph, Bhav Joshi, Helen Katamba, Laura Lovemore and Anna Russell Martin.

One play will be released via the Traverse’s website and wherever you get your podcasts each day at 9am from Mon 24 – Fri 28 August and each play will be available to listen to on demand and for free for 14 days after it has premiered.

Eleanor White, Literary Associate at the Traverse said:

“I am thrilled that we will be able to share the brilliant and visionary work of the writers involved in our 2020 Breakfast Plays: New Tracks with the entire world! The Breakfast Plays are a crucial part of our talent development programme, and there was never a question of them not happening this year. We are proud that the skills many of the writers have developed through their involvement in our Young Writers Group programme mean that they can tell compelling and thought-provoking stories in formats far beyond what we might consider conventional theatre. Delivering this year’s plays in an audio format is a natural progression and has allowed the writers to grow new skills in multiple areas of storytelling. Listen out in August – and remember to have a breakfast roll ready for the true Breakfast Play experience!”

Conor O’Loughlin,Breakfast Plays: New Tracks writer said:

“The Breakfast Plays offer a dream provocation to any writer, practically demanding a response primed with enough adrenaline to see Festival audiences through the rest of the day. It’s a testament to the Traverse’s own reserves of energy and resilience that this year not only continues that tradition, but does so on an even grander scale and with unlimited scope. It may be a new form and platform, with rehearsal Zooms in place of rehearsal rooms, but the artistic team has at every turn provided the same incredible levels of support and bespoke development that make the Traverse the new writing haven it has always been. I knew my play was in the safest of hands thanks to brilliant collaborators who devoted endless time, patience and expertise from the first draft right through to the recording. It is a real thrill to be part of the Digital Festival and contribute to an exciting collection of plays that capture this moment in time while also breaking new ground, both for myself as a playwright and for my favourite theatre in the world.”

Uma Nada-Rajah, Breakfast Plays: New Tracks writer said:

“Participating in the Breakfast Plays gave me the opportunity to take a new and experimental idea from its conception to a second draft. It is a welcome opportunity to put raw, of the moment work in front of a virtual audience. I received meticulous notes and had the joy of working with a cracking artistic team."

The Breakfast Plays: New Tracks are generously supported by the Noël Coward Foundation and the Turtleton Charitable Trust.
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