With a year-round mission to place powerful contemporary theatre at the heart of cultural life, the Traverse Theatre’s festive season presents a distinct programme that addresses current issues and concerns, offering something that delves a little deeper than most.
The programme includes a brand new Traverse Theatre Company production by Kieran Hurley exploring class and culture, Mouthpiece. Elsewhere, Jo Clifford’s The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven comes to us for the first time, following being at the epicentre of an anti-censorship and human rights movement in South America, where it toured extensively and has recently become too dangerous to perform.
On a lighter note, but still delightfully alternative, returning by popular demand is Gary McNair’s McGonagall’s Chronicles (Which Will Be Remembered For A Very Long Time), originally presented as part of A Play, A Pie and A Pint, Òran Mór and performed in ‘almost rhyming verse’. Finally, we celebrate the return home of the much-praised Black Beauty for two special dates only. Read on for more news and updates on each production…
The Traverse Theatre Company’s flagship festive production, Mouthpiece (5-22 Dec), produced in association with HighTide, is the latest full-length play from the multi-award-winning Kieran Hurley (Square Go; Heads Up; Beats) – an unexpected, darkly comic and at times shocking story of two unlikely lives intertwined.
We are delighted to announce that the cast will be made up of Neve McIntosh (Libby) and Lorn McDonald (Declan). Libby whiles away her days in New Town cafés and still calls herself a writer – but she’s not put pen to page for years. Declan is a talented young artist struggling with a volatile home life in Pilton. As the two form an uneasy relationship, complicated by class and culture, Libby spots an opportunity to put her writing career back on track, and tell a story that really matters – Declan’s story. It’s a deeply personal look at the different Edinburghs which often exist in ignorance of one another, and examines whether it’s possible to tell someone else’s story without exploiting them along the way. Orla O’Loughlin directs, marking her final production as Outgoing Artistic Director. There will be additional Assistant Director support from Heather Marshall, supported by a Federation of Scottish Theatre Assistant Director Bursary with funding from Creative Scotland. For a list of the full creative team, see here.
We are also excited to reveal that we will be working with groups of young people on a community project titled ‘EH…’, tying in with the themes of Mouthpiece. Over four weeks of workshops, in association with Edinburgh’s Stills Gallery, the project will bring together young peoples’ responses to ‘their Edinburgh’, in both photographic and written word format. The culmination of their fruits will then be exhibited in the Traverse Café Bar from early December.
The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven
Coming to the Traverse for the first time, in a new reworking that responds to the main stage space of Traverse 1, is Jo Clifford’s legendary play The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven (13-16 & 19-22 Dec), in which Jesus returns to Earth as a trans woman – and she has a lot to say. Written by Clifford to protest the prejudice and discrimination trans people suffer, it arrives here almost ten years after its controversial premiere, and off the back of continued touring of South America – where it was at the epicentre of an anti-censorship and human rights movement. With the recent election of far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, it has become too dangerous to perform the Portuguese translation of the play.
For those keen to engage further with the production and its reverberating impact, the Sunday 16 December performance will offer a special ‘enhanced experience’, where – following the Church service-timed performance at 3pm – there will be a post-show discussion with Jo Clifford and director Susan Worsfold, joined live by the company’s Brazilian colleagues via video link. The event will also be streamed on social media and available to watch on YouTube afterwards.
McGonagall’s Chronicles (Which Will Be Remembered For A Very Long Time)
Back by popular demand is McGonagall’s Chronicles (Which Will Be Remembered For A Very Long Time) (5-15 Dec), written and performed by the award-winning Gary McNair (Locker Room Talk; Square Go; A Gambler’s Guide to Dying) with a beautiful live score from Simon Liddell (Square Go, After The Cuts, Frightened Rabbit). Originally presented as part of A Play, A Pie and A Pint, Òran Mór, this hilarious and heartfelt show is the biography of the Dundonian poet Sir William Topaz McGonagall, considered by history as the world's worst ever poet. Fittingly it is written in ‘almost rhyming verse’. It’s a great show, the time will fly by… And as the cherry on top, you’ll get mulled wine and a mince pie.
The multi-CATS award-winning Black Beauty (29 & 30 Nov), a Red Bridge Arts and Traverse Theatre Company production, returns home for two special performances only, as part of its autumn/winter tour, following an acclaimed run in New York City. With storytelling at its finest by Andy Manley and Andy Cannon, and a versatile set full of surprises designed by Shona Reppe, this award-winning re-telling offers a fun-filled twist on Anna Sewell’s classic, blending storytelling, music and puppetry. Performed by Paul Curley and John Currivan.
Following its short run at the Traverse, Black Beauty will continue on to tour to Z Arts in Manchester (5-15 December) and Platform in Glasgow (18-23 December).
Looking to reach new customers? We offer a variety of advertising options with prices starting from just £30 per month!