Best new theatre coming to Edinburgh this autumn season

Theatre Preview: What's coming to Edinburgh this autumn


As 2018 winds down, get a sneak peak of what to watch at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum and Traverse Theatre

David Greig's third season as artistic director at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum begins with Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (Fri 14 Sep-Sat 6 Oct) – well in keeping with the theatre's interest in classic scripts, but more familiar than previous choices such as the dismal misogyny of Strindberg's Creditors or the reframing of The Belle's Stratagem. Directed by Wils Wilson – who demonstrated in her production of Cockpit that she can rescue a script from the awkwardness of the past's political incorrectness – the Bard's hoary old tale of love and disguise is reimagined in the Summer of Love, with an appropriately genre-clashing soundtrack by Welsh musician Meilyr Jones.

Following this is the NTS production of Cyrano de Bergerac (Fri 12 Oct–Sat 3 Nov), another classic retooled by Dominic Hill from the Citizens' Theatre, before the Christmas interlude brings Wendy and Peter Pan (Thu 29 Nov–Sat 5 Jan). The Lyceum's history has seen it become the home of a particular tradition of well-crafted scripts, focused on strong ensembles, familiar playwrights or adaptations of popular work: moving into 2019, both Touching the Void and Local Hero tap into the latter. Greig's statements about a relevant and contemporary theatre, expressed in the themes of Stratagem and Cockpit aren't necessarily evident in these choices. They do, however, slot nicely into a broad, popular appeal.

The Traverse has often been cast in contrast to the Lyceum and while the departure of artistic director Orla O'Loughin is a sad loss, not least because of her support for female-led productions, their autumn season concentrates on new plays and immediate concerns: Manpower (Wed 26 & Thu 27 Sep) examines working-class male experience, Scotties (Thu 27–Sat 29 Sep) considers minority languages and a selection of first readings of brand new plays supports emerging playwrights in the first stage of their latest work. The range of Edinburgh's theatre scene has always been marked by the contrasting approaches of the Traverse and Lyceum, and its health expressed by their successes beyond the drama of the Fringe.

For full autumn programmes, see and


A play about the evolution of masculinity, expectation, work and economics in the 40 years since Britain became a part of Europe.

Cyrano de Bergerac

The hugely romantic Cyrano de Bergerac is given a Glaswegian heart in a new production by Citizens Theatre Artistic Director Dominic Hill of Edwin Morgan’s Glaswegian-Scots translation. A co-production with National Theatre Scotland and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh. Ages 12+.


A play that celebrates the languages of Scotland and Ireland, focusing on a young Glaswegian boy whose soul is awoken by the story of ten young Irish boys who died in a Scottish bothy fire in 1937.

Twelfth Night

Adaptation of Shakespeare's gender-blurring Twelfth Night set during the Summer of Love. A co-production between the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and the Bristol Old Vic.

Wendy and Peter Pan

Adaptation of JM Barrie's classic children's story, full of fairy dust and adventure. Adapted by Ella Hickson and directed by Eleanor Rhode. Recommended for 5+.

Touching the Void

Play based on mountaineer Joe Simpson's memoir, which charts his struggle for survival on the dangerous Siula Grande in the Andes. Adapted by David Greig.

Local Hero

Wry comedy about a man who comes to buy a beach and ends up falling in love with a village, based on the film by Bill Forsyth. A co-production by the Royal Lyceum Theatre and the Old Vic.