Traverse Theatre at 50: Upcoming playwrights from Scotland to watch
The best upcoming theatre writers, including Drew Taylor, Kris Haddow, Michael O’Neill, Molly Innes and Sylvia Dow
When the Trav called out for new playwrights to become part of the Traverse 50, they received over six hundred applications. Staging fifty short plays by way of an introduction to the winners, they selected writers from across Scotland and beyond – including artists based in Australia and Europe – for a year-long mentoring programme. Here are 5 names we think are worth keeping an eye out for
Sylvia Dow proves that new writers don’t have to be youngsters: her first play was produced after her retirement. Her entry for The Traverse Fifty, a monologue, was praised for its ‘structural grace’ and examines the case of a man involved in a murder.
Michael O’Neill’s enthusiasm for site responsive, personal yet politically aware work has seen him stage productions at Mayfesto and Arches Live! His entry concerns two men who agree to marry, pending changes in the law. He notes that the Traverse 50 offers ‘the chance to become part of a community.’
Kris Haddow is already a successful Scots poet but observes that ‘having the opportunity to workshop with established playwrights in a safe environment really appealed to me.’ Best Seat in Town sees a woman and boy overcome by a surprising event before mundane banality claims them.
Drew Taylor is a live poet and alternative performance trickster: recently he played Klaus Nomi in Do You Nomi? and collaborated with Glasgow beat-box maestro Bigg Taj for Breakin’ Convention’s Open Art Surgery. His piece was personal: ‘it was about a violent experience,’ he says. ‘A guy tried to attack me with a metal pole.’
Molly Innes is known as an actor: this project has encouraged artists to develop their creativity beyond their expected role. Innes has appeared in some of Scotland’s most successful TV series and films – including Taking Over the Asylum and Red Road – before taking the challenge of writing a script.
The Traverse 50 culminates in a new writing festival scheduled for this autumn.