Village Pub Theatre is a dynamic addition to Scotland’s theatre community
The bar-based drama company is set to branch out into larger performance spaces
For the past two years, the north of Edinburgh has been home to a radical new approach to theatre making. Eschewing the glamour of the cultural quarter, a group of artists have been producing new plays in an unfamiliar environment.
‘We are normally at The Village Pub in Leith,’ says James Ley. ‘We started about two years ago at the Leith Festival: we did three nights and it went really well, and it has grown out of that. We have been doing around one night a month, and at Christmas we did a pantomime. We did "plays in a tweet" as a one-off, but that went viral and we ended up doing those as a curtain raiser at the Lyceum.’
To celebrate their success, the group is staging a brief take-over of Edinburgh’s famed new writing theatre. ‘We always said it would be nice to do a Best Of… at The Traverse,’ Ley comments. Director Caitlin Skinner continues: ‘It feels natural that we would be able to take work there. It couldn’t be more different. If we went to somewhere a bit similar, it would just be… a bit similar. This is a new challenge to bring some warmth and a little bit of fun to a new space!’
The Village Pub Theatre is evidence that drama doesn’t need funding to get started, and the imaginative venue has produced its own style of theatre, as Ley explains. ‘Really intimate pieces don’t work in the pub – the soundproofing is non-existent so it needs much bigger casts, and comedy works really well. It’s rough theatre that isn’t people sitting round just reading a script. It’s much more in your face!’
With the last night given over to a selection of tried and tested favourites, and the weeknights showcasing various pieces from the collective, the arrival of Village Pub Theatre as a dynamic addition to Scotland’s theatre community is celebrated as the Traverse proves its commitment to intriguing, original creativity.
Traverse, Edinburgh, Mon 31 Mar–Sat 5 Apr.