First online and outdoor shows are announced for Traverse Festival 2021

Traverse Festival 2021 announces the first of its online and outdoor shows

MOVE, Julia Taudevin / credit: Sandie McIver and Brian Hartley

Dynamic new stories, the spirit of Edinburgh, and the strength of its community will be celebrated from early August to mid September

Scotland's new writing theatre, the Traverse Theatre, is a proud champion of stories and storytellers. As it welcomes audiences back into its Cambridge Street home for the first-time since March 2020, it will be to celebrate the city of Edinburgh and its resilience through an extremely difficult period, whilst sharing the fruits of some exciting creative journeys.

Blending in-person, outdoor and online events, the Traverse Festival 2021 will run from Monday 2 August until mid September, with the organisers promising full Covid-19 safety procedures across all sites. The first shows from its line-up have just been announced, though there's plenty to be added in the coming weeks.

Kicking things off in Traverse 1 on Monday 2 August is the world premiere of Frances Poet's Still, an in-person event set in familiar Edinburgh locations and featuring some credible local characters that's described as 'a cathartic story of life, loss and joy'. Its stripped-back style places audiences right at the heart of the tale, and it will be accompanied by a live, folk-rock inspired musical score.

Still, Frances Poet / credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

Following it up is a limited run of Michael John O'Neill's powerful This is Paradise, which had a successful first reading as part of February's First Stages Festival. Set in Belfast in 1998, following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, it explores the fragility of peace in Northern Ireland. The sands of Silverknowes Beach will be the open-air setting for performances of Disaster Plan's MOVE by Julia Taudevin, a story of migration and communal healing inspired by ancient keening rituals and first performed early last year as part of the Celtic Connections Festival. On demand digital versions of these live events will be available in late August.

Online events include the First Stages Festival: Summer 21, which gives audiences and creatives the opportunity to participate in events designed to uncover or ignite creativity or expand and hone skills. It will include public readings of current Traverse commissions, alongside workshops and tutorials from established Scottish creative industries names. Natalie McGrath's We'll Meet in Moscow gets its world premiere, a haunting and consuming audio monologue about the risks of falling in love, written in response to Russian courts banning Moscow Pride in August 2012.

Also available to access online in August is Walk This Play from ThickSkin Theatre Company, a series of immersive, location-based audio plays designed to be experienced by listeners as they walk, which invite you to experience a familiar route from a new perspective. Fishamble's Olivier Award-winning production of Sebastian Barry's On Blueberry Hill receives its Scottish and digital premiere, following West End and Off-Broadway runs.

An Evening with an Immigrant, Inua Ellams / credit: Oliver Holms

An Evening with an Immigrant sees award-winning poet and playwright Inua Ellams revisit his show from TravFest17 for a digital audience. The Zoom-based Love Letters at Home responds to our desire for connection in an age of distance and features song dedications and the associated stories, with every night unique to its audience, while the return of best of the Fringe fundraiser Shedinburgh is also cause for celebration.

All events are being sold on a pay-what-you-can basis, while £1 tickets are available across the programme for those under 25 or in receipt of government benefits. To browse the full Traverse Festival programme and book tickets visit traverse.co.uk.

Traverse Festival

The Traverse Festival 2021 blends in-person, outdoor and online events. Spearheaded by Scotland’s new writing theatre, the Traverse Theatre, the festival is a proud champion of stories and storytellers. Full Covid-19 safety procedures will be in place across all sites.