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Lyrical, witty and poignant in equal measure.” ★★★★★
The Public Reviews


    Written byStef Smith
    Start date7 Aug 2015
    End date30 Aug 2015
  • TicketsPreviews £14/£8 concessions. Other: Full price £20 / Standard concession £15 / Other concession £8
    Genre Festival, Theatre,


“Who said smashing things up was a bad thing?”

Three strangers are about to face their demons head on.

Balanced precariously on the tipping point, they might just be able to save one another if they can only overcome their urge to self-destruct.

Painful yet playful, poignant but uplifting, this world premiere takes a long hard look at the extremes of everyday life. Questions of identity, heartbreak and hope are explored with vivid, poetic intensity.

Swallow is a powerful and invigorating new play from Olivier Award-winner Stef Smith whose impressive record includes her text for Roadkill (Traverse Festival, 2010 and 2011).

Directed by Traverse Artistic Director Orla O’Loughlin, acclaimed for previous Festival hits Spoiling and Ciara, Swallow features original music by rising star, singer/songwriter LAWholt, who has collaborated most recently with Mercury Prize-winning hip-hop trio Young Fathers.

Part of Made in Scotland Showcase 2015. / @traversetheatre /

Fri 7 Aug, 7pm
Sat 8 Aug, 10.30am

Preview Ticket Price
£14/£8 concession 

Sun 9 - Sun 30 August

Full price £20
Standard concession £15
Other concession £8

The amount stated is the final price for tickets through all sales channels. For further fee information, see our Box Office information page.


Age Recommendation

Access Performances
British Sign Language & Audio Described Performance - Sat 22 Aug, 7.30pm

Contains some strong language and sexual descriptions.

Supported by Creative Scotland, Made in Scotland, the Leverhulme Arts Scholarship and the JMK regional assistant director bursary. 

The JMK Trust was founded in 1997 in memory of a theatre director of thrilling promise, James Menzies-Kitchin, who died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 28. It runs the annual JMK Young Director’s Award and works with theatres around the UK in its regional programme to discover and support emerging theatre directors. Its assistant director bursary, funded by The Leverhulme Trust Arts Scholarships Award, is another part of our work which enables directors to learn new skills through practical experience. For more details about what the JMK Trust does please visit

Image by Mihaela Bodlovic

  • Stef Smith

  • Orla O'Loughlin

  • Katherine Nesbitt

    Assistant Director, Leverhulme Arts Scholar and Recipient of the JMK Regional Assistant Director Bursary
  • Fred Meller

  • Philip Gladwell

    Lighting Designer
  • Daniel Krass

    Composer, Sound Designer
  • LAWholt

  • Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Anita Vettesse & Emily Wachter

  • Lyrical, witty and poignant in equal measure.” ★★★★★
    The Public Reviews
  • Both emotion and humour are brought to the stage by the remarkably outstanding cast.” ★★★★★
    TV Bomb
  • There are so many reasons to love this piece from playwright Stef Smith and the Traverse’s artistic director Orla O’Loughlin ... a must-see this Fringe." ★★★★
    The Independent
  • The cleverly staged production from a largely female team has a spiky exterior hiding a warm and resonant core.” ★★★★
    All Edinburgh Theatre
  • Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Anita Vettesse and Emily Wachter are all utterly compelling” ★★★★
    The Guardian
  • ...the three are brilliantly directed and choreographed to perfectly apt music and truly impressive lighting and sound making this an all -round absorbing piece of theatre." ★★★★
    Edinburgh Guide
  • Director Orla O’Loughlin places exceptional faith in the writing and performances, which is paid off in spades” ★★★★
    The Times
  • Smith’s script is clever and modern, tearful and funny” ★★★★
    The Skinny
  • the poetry of the writing matches up to the physical poetry of bodies in space” ★★★★
    Fest Magazine
  • An elegant and glowing piece of 21st century magic realism – exquisitely directed by the Traverse’s Orla O’Loughlin” ★★★★
    The Scotsman
  • … one of Scotland’s most talked about young playwrights… Smith’s work is smart and thoughtful, with no shortage of substance.”
    The Scotsman
  • Smith’s writing is sharp and Orla O’Loughlin’s direction slick”
    The Financial Times
  • [Stef Smith’s] writing sparkles with delicate observations, inventiveness and empathy.” ★★★★
    The List
  • A beautifully composed call to arms for emotional outlaws to take on the world once more on their own gloriously messy terms” ★★★★
    The Herald
  • A striking and important piece of theatre” ★★★★
    Broadway Baby
  • A relationship breakdown, a desire to stop living as a woman and an inability to leave the house – writer Stef Smith draws them together in a jumping narrative” ★★★★
    Daily Record

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