Scotland’s New Writing Theatre has a wild and wonderful history. This week, the Student is giving you our top seven interesting facts about one of Edinburgh’s best-loved theatres.
1) The building we think of as Traverse Theatre is actually the theatre’s third home. Its first was an old brothel on the Royal Mile that was later deemed unsafe for public use.
2) In the 1970s the theatre moved again, this time to Grassmarket, and included a space for visual arts exhibitions.
3) The Traverse was originally founded with the intention of keeping the festival atmosphere alive all year round. In fact, it is sometimes known as ‘the Fringe venue that got away’, suggestive of its status within the Edinburgh arts scene.
4) ‘Scotland’s new writing theatre’ it is – many of our Nation’s most famous playwrights got their start at the Trav. Think big names like John Byrne, David Greig and Gregory Burke.
5) Robbie Coltrane sponsors a seat in the theatre: its plaque reads, “This is a no farting zone”.
6) In 1963, a leading actress was stabbed on stage during a performance. The chairman of the board claimed the use of a real knife was necessary because of the closeness of the audience while a key arts promoter of the time said it was because they could not afford a paper knife.
7) The Traverse offers standard student concessions so there’s really no excuse for not visiting during your time in Edinburgh.