Traverse Theatre's Archive Project with Queen Margaret University

News 14 Feb 2022

Traverse Theatre’s Archive Project with Queen Margaret University

As 2023 will mark the Traverse Theatre’s 60th anniversary, we joined forces with Queen Margaret University to brush the dust (literally!) from the records in our archive and delve into our past. We are currently working with Dr Andy Henry, Vlad Butucea, and over 30 Drama and Performance students from Queen Margaret University, to catalogue Traverse’s extensive archives which include published playtexts, show books and rehearsal scripts, rig plans, model box designs, posters and brochures, photographs, as well as film and audio in a mixture of digital and analogue formats.

Between January and May 2022, the students of the BA (Hons) Drama and Performance course at Queen Margaret University will use Traverse's archive as a tangible live example in their elective archiving module. Alongside learning about different techniques and approaches to archiving, they will also come up with creative responses to hidden treasures from our archive, culminating in a small showcase near the end of their module. We are excited to provide you with updates as the project progresses!

"The module is designed to teach students what performance archives are, how they function, and what kinds of creative strategies can be employed to bring performance archives to life. Collaborating with the Traverse Theatre archive affords our students a fantastic opportunity to put their training into practice through a period of research stimulated by the materials they discover on site. Students will conduct research that will contribute – in a real way - to the establishment of historical knowledge for the theatre. Having already identified exciting lines of enquiry and exploration, the groups are looking forward to developing creative responses as the project progresses." - Dr Andy Henry

In addition to our work with QMU, we are also working with the Creative Informatics project, which is a joint endeavour between the University of Edinburgh, Napier University, Creative Edinburgh and Codebase to support cultural organisations to embed digital outputs within their practice. We are currently one of their ‘Challenge Holders’, which will see us work with a developer to create an interactive, digital platform that will share images, video/audio, and stories from the Traverse archive. This will enable us to better share the items digitally, and timeline of the Traverse’s diverse output over the years. You can read more about the challenge here, including a short video from one of our team:

A key ambition of our work on the archive is to capture people’s first-hand accounts of the Traverse programme and also the many experiences adjacent to this. The people we meet through the Traverse, and the conversations our work sparks, are an equally vital part of our history, so we are working on ways to actively involve people through such contributions. If you have any old memorabilia or memory from the Traverse, particularly from our previous locations, we'd love to hear from you! You can reach us by emailing