First Stages Readings with Q&A: HEL and A Foreign Language

Traverse Theatre Company By Isla van Tricht and Dipo Baruwa-Etti

Live event on Thu 25 Feb

Choose dates & Book


As part of the First Stages Festival, extracts from plays by writers who entered scripts to Open Submissions 2019 receive their first public readings on their journey towards the stage, hosted by playwright Frances Poet.

HEL by Isla van Tricht

After taking drastic action to try and cure his unhappiness, teenager Liam begins to work with Pina, a therapeutic guru and devotee of the ancient Norse goddess Hel, to transform himself into a better – and happier – man. But as their time together grows more intense, their bond closer, and their work more intimate, Liam’s self-appointed best friend Tia suspects that the transformation he’s undergoing will make him far from better, and may have dangerous consequences.

A Foreign Language by Dipo Baruwa-Etti

Yomi, Olu, Moses and Ruth are a family reeling from a shared tragedy. Haunted by their pasts, they begin to question whether an absence of love influenced their present. But what is love? Is there a universal meaning that can bring them all peace? They know they must reach across the distance between them, but does each of them having a different translation of one word make this impossible? A Foreign Language is a lyrical exploration of the many types of love that may be present in our lives, how they enrich us and may heal our connections with others, if only we are able to embrace them.

These script-in-hand readings are directed by the Traverse's Co-Artistic Director Designate, Debbie Hannan, and will be followed by a Q&A, hosted by playwright Frances Poet.

Each Autumn, the Traverse invites writers based in the UK and Ireland to anonymously submit a full length script to us via our Open Submissions window to help us discover the most exciting and visionary new voices out there. Both HEL and A Foreign Language have been developed by our literary department after Isla van Tricht and Dipo Baruwa-Etti were selected from over 600 writers who sent us their plays in 2019.

You can submit your questions via the chat feature on Zoom following the reading. We ask that all participants in interactive live events, including Q&As and workshops, follow our Terms of Conduct to ensure a positive and inclusive experience for everyone involved.

A recording of these readings will be available to purchase and watch following the live event.

This event is part of our First Stages Festival - a celebration of storytelling and playwriting.

Isla van Tricht
Dipo Baruwa-Etti

The Traverse Theatre is funded by Creative Scotland and The City of Edinburgh Council, with additional support from The Scottish Government Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund.



  • DirectorDebbie Hannan
  • DramaturgEleanor White
  • Video Design & EditingLewis den Hertog
  • Kyle Gardiner

    Cast - HEL

  • Kirsty Stuart

    Cast - HEL

  • Ani Nelson

    Cast - HEL

  • Mensah Bediako

    Cast - A Foreign Language

  • Emmanuella Cole

    Cast - A Foreign Language

  • Anyebe Godwin

    Cast - A Foreign Language

  • Jumoké Fashola

    Cast - A Foreign Language

Choose Dates and Book

Immediately after booking you'll receive an email from us confirming your purchase. One hour before the reading, you'll receive a second email from us which will contain your link to join the event.